Workplace Concentration of Immigrants

Fedrick Andersson, U.S. Department of the Treasury
Monica Garcia-Perez, St. Cloud State University
John Haltiwanger, University of Maryland
Kristen McCue, U.S. Census Bureau
Seth Sanders, Duke University

Do immigrants and the native-born work in separate workplaces? Do worker and employer characteristics explain workplace concentration? We explore these questions using a matched employer-employee database. We find that immigrants are much more likely to have immigrant coworkers and are particularly likely to work with their compatriots. Concentration is grater in small businesses than in large ones, it varies substantially across industries, and is particularly high among immigrants with limited English skills. Neighborhood job networks are strongly positively associated with concentration. The importance of these factors varies by country of origin—for example, not speaking English well has a particularly strong association with concentration for immigrants from Asian countries. We find that employer and employee characteristics account for half of the difference in concentration in working with compatriots and all of the difference in working with other non-compatriot immigrants; residential segregation, industry and English skills are the most important explanatory factors.

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Presented in Session 51: Immigration and Integration in the Workplace and Housing