Determinants of Recent Immigrants' Locational Choices

Madeline Zavodny
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Working Paper 98-3
April 1998

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High levels of immigration to the United States have caused the size of the foreign-born population to increase dramatically in recent years. Recent immigrants are concentrated in several states, particularly California. This paper examines the determinants of the intended state of residence of new recipients of legal permanent-resident status and new refugees over the 1989-94 period. The presence of other foreign-born people is the primary determinant of the locational choices of new legal permanent residents, but there are some differences among immigrant groups by admission category and by country of origin. Only refugees' locations appear to be sensitive to welfare generosity.

JEL classification: J61, R23

Key words: immigrants, foreign-born, locational choice

The author thanks Lori Taylor and Rob Bliss for helpful conversations. The views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta or the Federal Reserve System. Any remaining errors are the author's responsibility.

Please address questions regarding content to Madeline Zavodny, Research Department, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, 104 Marietta Street, NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30303-2713, 404/498-8977, 404/498-8058 (fax), madeline.