Sociology International and Domestic Residential Segregation and Immigration in US Term Paper
- Length: 6 pages
- Subject: Economics
- Type: Term Paper
- Paper: #63810634
Excerpt from Term Paper :
Since the peak in residential Black/White segregation during the 1960s and 1970s, there has been a slow decline in the index of dissimilarity; however, this did not translate into an increase in interactions with different racial groups ("Residential Segregation" 15-19). By the 2010 Census, the average White person still lives in a predominantly White neighborhood and the average Black person lives in a predominately minority neighborhood. By comparison, the residential segregation experienced by Hispanics and Asians has remained relatively stable during the latter decades of the 20th century and during the first decade of the new millennium.
The two main competing models are "human ecology" and "socioeconomic status" ("Residential Segregation" 47). The human ecology model proposes that segregation is created by trends in migration and new housing starts, institutionalized discrimination, population growth, an urban center's size and age, and the demographics specific to a region. By comparison, Wilson has proposed that income levels play a decisive role in determining how segregated neighborhoods are. Accordingly, a significant difference in socioeconomic status prevents low-income earners from mixing with higher income earners. The socioeconomic status model though, has not been consistently supported by data generated from empirical studies across all groups. For example, Farley and Frey cited the work of others and emphasized that improved socioeconomic status did not translate into similar degrees of spatial assimilation for Blacks, as it did for Hispanics and Asians (24).
Farley and Frey examined both human ecology and socioeconomic variables using data from the 1990 Census to determine which factors significantly influenced residential segregation trends during the previous decade (37-40). The strongest predictors of change in the index of dissimilarity were region, functional specialization, and new housing starts. The Northeast and Midwest were by far more segregated than the West and South, and this did not change during the 1980s. The two types of communities that showed a significant change were retirement and military communities, but the former changed the least. The authors also discovered that rapidly growing communities were significantly more likely to be less segregated than communities growing at a slower rate. A number of other human ecology variables were examined and although many of them changed in the direction of less segregation, they did not reach statistical significance. However, when Farley and Frey examined the influence of upward economic mobility, there was a small, but insignificant effect. This data therefore provides substantial support for the human ecology model for trends in residential segregation and provided little support for the socioeconomic status model.
A decade later, Logan, Stults, and Farley examined the data provided by the 2000 Census to determine trends in residential segregation during the previous two decades (17-19). Overall, the greatest reductions in segregation were observed for variables that showed the greatest segregation at the beginning of the study period. The human ecology variable "region" once again reached significance for all three racial minorities studied, but segregation actually increased in the Northeast and Midwest for Blacks and Hispanics. In the West, Hispanics were significantly more segregated. For Asians, segregation decreased in the Northeast and increased in the West. Functional specialization of communities also influenced segregation trends, with lower segregation in military communities for Blacks and retirement communities for Hispanics. In contrast, segregation increased significantly for all three minorities in durable-goods manufacturing neighborhoods, and for Asians in government communities. Growth in minority population size also increased segregation in metropolitan areas for Hispanics and Asians, but not for Blacks. When the variable 'socioeconomic status' was examined, the only minority group that experienced a significant reduction in segregation was Hispanics. The impact of new housing starts was limited to Blacks, with a slight reduction in segregation. This study also supports concluding that the human ecology model is the better predictor of recent residential segregation trends than the socioeconomic status model.
Neoclassical economics theory implies that migration is driven primarily by economic forces, such that a country with abundant labor and low wages becomes the country of origin for labor migration for a country with limited labor and high wages (Massey 433-436). With time, equilibrium is established by this labor migration, such that the labor supply decreases and wages increase in the country of origin and the reverse occurs in the destination country. In contrast, the capital market reacts in the opposite manner, flowing from the capital-rich country to the capital-poor country, because the returns on investments are expected to be greater. On an individual level, potential migrants engage in a cost/benefit analysis before deciding to emigrate.
The U.S. economy, in comparison to the Mexican economy, represents a limited labor force and high wages. Mexican migrant workers began to flood the U.S. borders during the early 1970s at a rate that has only recently begun to decline ("Migration & #8230;" 34), reportedly to take advantage of abundant work opportunities and higher wages. This rate of flow has achieved a state of equilibrium with returning workers, which is consistent with neoclassical economics theory. In Farmville, many of the day laborers have migrated from Mexico to take advantage of increased work opportunities and higher wages.
The work opportunities created in Farmville and the surrounding communities can be explained by the segmented labor market theory. This theory proposes that the economic structure of developed economies, like that of the U.S., creates a permanent demand for low-wage labor (Massey 440-444). In the U.S., wages are often determined by social factors and collective bargaining contracts, rather than by labor supply and demand. If wages are raised at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder, then all wages will have to be raised to maintain the social status of higher wage workers. The added costs associated with this structural inflation therefore prevent employers from raising wages for 'dirty' jobs. What emerges in developed economies is a dual labor market, with the primary sector employing skilled high-wage earners and the secondary sector offering low-wage, labor-intensive, insecure jobs. According to segmented labor market theory, the secondary sector will remain a permanent fixture of a developed economy as long as the primary sector thrives.
The upscale neighborhoods and lifestyles on Long Island have created an inviting labor market for the region's landscaping business, construction industry, and restaurants ("Farmville: Film Description" para. 3). Although many of these jobs are low-wage, insecure, and occasionally dangerous, the opportunity to earn considerably more than they could in their host country has attracted enough migrants into Farmville, NY that it represents approximately 10% of the population. These migrant workers are thus filling a need that many of their employers claim would bring the local economy to a halt without their presence ("Farmville: Film Description" para. 5). The economic conditions in Farmville and the surrounding communities therefore seem to validate the segmented labor market theory.
One of the complaints long-time Farmville residents have against the undocumented workers is that they tend to crowd into residential houses and apartments they rent ("Farmville: Film Description" para. 3). Such crowding supports network theory, which proposes that social ties between the communities of origin and destination promote additional migration (Massey 448-450). Once an immigrant has become established in the destination country, the costs and risks associated with other family members and friends making the same trip are reduced. This process is self-perpetuating, since each additional migration establishes another nexus of support for additional migrations. Over time, migration networks are established and the costs associated with migration are further reduced.
A possible solution for controlling international migration is suggested by neoclassical economics theory (Massey 433-436). Since capital is predicted to flow in the opposite direction of labor, stopping the flow of migrant labor would require the destination country to remove any barriers to capital investment in the destination country. The North American Free Trade Agreement would be one example of this type of program.
Two boom periods of immigration into the United States occurred within the 20th century ("Migration & #8230;" 26-29). The first began 25 years before the beginning of the 20th century and lasted until the start of WWI. This period was considered the 'heyday' of U.S. immigration. The second began in the 1980s and has persisted through the first decade of the 21st century. During the mass migration period, immigration laws were relaxed and open to any Whites who were not ill or criminals. The subsequent ebb in the immigration flow correlated with instituting national origin quotas, but when these quotas were eliminated in 1965, the doors opened again and immigrants primarily from south of the border and Asia began entering the U.S. As of 2012, 13.5% of the U.S. population is foreign born; however, geographically the immigrant community represented almost 50% and 33% of the non-south populations at the beginning and end of the 20th century, respectively (Hirschman 598-599).
The main ethnicity emigrating to the U.S. At the beginning of the 20th century was European Whites ("Migration & #8230;" 30). This group represented the vast majority of immigrants, but in contrast to previous periods of immigration, this group…