A geographic assessment of immigrants’ location patterns, segregation, and housing conditions in 21st century America: evidence from the Atlanta metropolitan statistical area

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Arwa Mohamed Alnaass Altaher (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Selima Sultana

Abstract: Currently, approximately 35 million foreign-born people (about 12% of the U.S. population) live in the U.S., and the majority of recent immigrants are from less-developed regions, a trend that is projected to continue. Given the fact that immigrants from developing countries will represent a crucial component of the future American cultures, all these implications can be profound on the future American urban landscape. It is therefore of great interest to urban and economic geographers to investigate immigrants’ residential location patterns and how they vary by social mobility. Using the America Community Survey data of 2008-2012, this study investigates the diversity of immigrant populations and their housing locations in the Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area within 29 counties at census tract level. Specifically, the research examines whether immigrants’ countries of origin, language, socioeconomic, and regional background influence the geographic distributions of foreign-born populations. This dissertation had three broad objectives: (1) to determine the geographic distributions of foreign-born populations as part of the population growth process in the Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA); (2) to analyze the magnitude of segregation among immigrant populations in the Atlanta metropolitan area; and (3) to evaluate the demographic and housing conditions of foreign-born populations in segregated vs. non-segregated census tracts in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area. Unlike past studies, this research extended the literature by documenting a broader overview of residential locations across different groups of immigrants such as by their origin of countries, regions, continents, as well as socioeconomic conditions of origin of the countries. The approaches include calculating location quotients and an index of dissimilarity and using geographic information systems to visualize the results. Gwinnett and Fulton Counties have the highest foreign-born population. However, immigrants live in highly segregated communities in both counties. Immigrants are more segregated from native-born Whites in Gwinnett County and native-born Blacks in Fulton County. The Location Quotient (LQ) of foreign-born within native-born population analysis shows that most of the Atlanta MSA is segregated with an under represented LQ of <0.25. This level of segregation occurs in 724 counties around the entire MSA, accounting for 76.14% of all tracts. The place of birth has an influence on immigrants’ home locations at the census tract level. They tend to live near people from their own country. These patterns may imply that immigrants tend to get help from each other (e.g., housing, living and carpool). The study also found that the average segregation level is higher among all education levels of immigrants, but is slightly less among immigrants with graduate and professional level educations. Those tracts with over-representation of foreign-born residents have a high percentage of those with less than a high school level education; this group is 32% of the educated foreign-born population. Overall, immigrant groups in the Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) reflect the fact that location patterns differ from those of natives in various aspects. The index of dissimilarity values indicates that overall immigrant groups in the Atlanta metropolitan area are segregated from native-born populations at the county level, but the magnitude of segregation is low. However, foreign-born populations from developing countries, non-Western countries, Central America, and the Caribbean are highly segregated from native-born Whites.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Atlanta, Foreign-born, English proficiency, GIS, Immigrants, Housing location, Income, Education, Segregation, Demography
Atlanta (Ga.) $x Population
Immigrants $x Housing $z Georgia $z Atlanta
Discrimination in housing $z Georgia $z Atlanta
Human geography $z United States
United States $x Emigration and immigration $x Regional disparities
United States $x Emigration and immigration $x Social aspects

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