The Economic Lives of Black Immigrants: An Analysis of Wages, Homeownership, and Locational Attainment in the United States

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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Demography, Population, and Ecology
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Black immigrants are a quickly growing population who experience the effects of the intersection of race and national origin. Despite their significance, black immigrants are often overlooked because they are a small population compared to other immigrants. This dissertation consists of three separate studies sharing the objective of investigating black immigrant incorporation into the United States. Each chapter uses U.S. census and American Community Survey data to investigate an aspect of black immigrants' wage and housing outcomes. Chapter one analyzes wage differences among blacks using linear regression models, which also control for selection into full-time employment. Chapter two also uses regression models to determine likelihood of homeownership and the values of homes once a household selects into homeownership. Chapter three measures the racial and socioeconomic segregation of black immigrants with the locational attainment model. I find in chapter 1 that, contrary to previous research, all black immigrants earn significantly lower wages than U.S.-born blacks. Yet, in chapter two I find that Caribbean immigrants are significantly more likely than U.S.-born blacks to own their homes and their homes are of equivalent or higher value than even U.S.-born whites at the national level. African-born blacks' homeownership and house value increases over time, with house values reaching the levels of U.S.-born whites'. The high home values of foreign-born blacks indicate that black immigrants are able to gain access to neighborhoods that U.S.-born blacks are not. This is confirmed in chapter 3; I find that foreign-born blacks are less segregated from U.S.-born whites than U.S.-born blacks and live in neighborhoods where they are more likely to be exposed to those with at least a college degree or with an income to poverty ratio of three or more. In some metropolitan areas foreign-born blacks are more likely to live in these areas than even U.S.-born whites.

Janice F. Madden
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