Immigrant redistribution, life course transitions, and state welfare policies: theory and evidence from the United States

Gordon F. De Jong, Pennsylvania State University
Deborah Roempke Graefe, Pennsylvania State University

While immigration and immigrant assimilation have been salient research topics in European population science, the analysis of immigrant redistribution (secondary migration within the EU) has rarely been studied. This paper provides an exemplar of theory and evidence on life course transitions and state welfare policy explanations for immigrant redistribution in the U.S. and lessons for possible application to European countries. Utilizing longitudinal individual- and family-level migration, human capital, and life course transitions data from the 1996-1999 and 2001-2003 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation, integrated with state welfare rule data and state economic conditions data, we apply a discrete-time event history approach in a nested logit model to estimate both departure decision and destination choice models of immigrants. The results provide consistent evidence that family life course transitions exert independent effects on the redistribution of immigrants, and that stringent state welfare eligibility policies affect both the departure and destination state relocation decisions of immigrants, controlling for state economy and co-ethnic population composition indicators. .

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Presented in Session 84: Social Mobility and Labour Market Participation of Foreign Workers