Moving Out and Moving Up: New Immigrant Destinations and Wage Outcomes for Recent Low-Skilled Chinese Immigrants in the U.S.

Zai Liang, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)
Zhen Li, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)

The increased diversification of immigrant settlement in the U.S. is by now a well established fact. However, there have not been sufficient efforts to examine socio-economic and health consequences of this new settlement. Using two surveys done in NYC’s Chinese community and combing other data sources, we explore the extent to which moving away from traditional settlement location of NYC to other parts of the country brings significant improvement in salary. Drawing on literature on migration networks, ethnic enclaves, and compensating wage differentials, we develop testable hypotheses. Our results show that for this group of low-skilled Chinese immigrants, moving away from NYC Chinese community has led to significant financial gains. However, it is not the case for Chinese business owners. We also find that low- skilled Chinese immigrants who work in locations with higher crime rates receive higher pay as well. Implications for immigrant adaptation and future research are explored.

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Presented in Session 199: Immigrant Settlement: From Enclaves to New Destinations