Over the last 20 years, immigrant settlement patterns in the U.S. have changed dramatically. In 1990, 84 percent of new immigrants settled in California, Texas, or Illinois; by 2000, that number had dropped to just 53%. Increased immigration, restrictive laws in traditional destinations, and economic pull to new destinations have led to increasing geographic dispersion of new immigrants to parts of the U.S. that previously had little or no immigrant population. At the same time, immigrants, especially Mexican immigrants, have become an increasingly large section of our labor force. Mexican immigrants now make up 6% of the U.S. working age population, and 23% of the working age population without a high school degree. However, to date, little is known about how immigrant workers fare in the labor market in new destinations versus traditional destinations.
Neeraj Kaushal will study the earnings trajectories and demographic and labor market characteristics of Mexican immigrants in new and traditional destinations. By studying the earnings of immigrants over time in new and traditional destinations, the project will examine the value of using earnings growth as a measure of integration for new Mexican immigrants and attempt to determine whether Mexican immigrants in new destinations experience the same earnings trajectories as those in traditional destinations. Kaushal will also investigate whether immigrants at new destinations are more positively selected in terms of education and earnings as compared to immigrants in traditional destinations.