Segmented Paths? Mexican Generational Differences in the Transition to First-Time Homeownership in the United States

Abstract

Homeownership represents an important indicator of immigrant incorporation and assimilation. This study is a longitudinal analysis of the transition to first-time homeownership among a cohort of youths followed from 1979 to 2009 using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY, 1979). In particular, I examine Mexican generational group differences in the transition to first-time homeownership over an observation period that spans 30 years while evaluating theories of straight-line and segmented assimilation. I find that Mexican homeownership rates do not increase in a linear fashion across generations, relative to native, non-Hispanic whites, even after controlling for various social, demographic, and economic characteristics. Furthermore, analyses limited to Mexicans reveal that first- and second-generation respondents exhibit more success in the transition to first-time homeownership than their third-generation counterparts. Contrary to observing linear gains in homeownership across generations, I find that Mexicans are experiencing segmented paths towards homeownership and achieving upward mobility across generations.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The double cohort method identifies immigrants and native-born individuals of a specific age group (i.e., 25–34 years of age) in one observation period (i.e., 1990) and then identifies the group again (i.e., ages 35–44 years of age) by taking the years between observations into account in the second period (i.e., 2000). Although this method deals with duration and aging components, it cannot account for return migration and mortality which could influence observed changes among the cohort.

  2. 2.

    Although the NLSY79 includes a measure of citizenship status at Wave 1 (1979), it does not ask the question again until 1990, which is also the last year respondents are asked about their citizenship. Because this study uses an observation window that extends to 2008, I am unable to use citizenship status as a time-varying variable in the analyses.

  3. 3.

    An alternative specification of time would be to include a set of dummy variables for each observation period and omitting the first-time period. However, this approach would result in 20 dummy variables and decrease the overall statistical power of the analyses (Singer and Willet 2003).

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Correspondence to Luis A. Sánchez.

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Sánchez, L.A. Segmented Paths? Mexican Generational Differences in the Transition to First-Time Homeownership in the United States. Int. Migration & Integration 19, 737–755 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12134-018-0560-6

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Keywords

  • Immigrant assimilation
  • Immigrant incorporation
  • Homeownership
  • NLSY79
  • Mexicans