Berkeley Journal of Sociology
Regents of the University of California
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Since 1965, the United States has seen large scale immigration from Asian countries previously under-represented in immigration flows to the United States. Although we know that these groups are predominantly settling in large Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas (SMSAs) on the West Coast, we know less about the factors that draw immigrant groups to particular areas. This study looks at the growth of immigrant populations in West Coast SMSAs among four different Asian immigrant groups, comparing census data from 1980 and 1990. Two major perspectives, economic and network models, were examined to see how well they explained current migration patterns within and across different Asian immigrant groups. The results suggest that neither economic nor network models alone adequately explain the growth of immigrant populations across SMSAs. Instead, comparisons across the four immigrant groups show the continuing attraction of the largest SMSAs irrespective of the economic characteristics of the SMSAs, or the socio-economic and historical characteristics of the immigrant groups themselves, and suggest the importance of these areas as "entry-ports" for newer immigrant groups.
Sohoni, D. (1999). Choosing the Big City: Destination Choices of Asian Immigrants to the West Coast of the United States. Berkeley Journal of Sociology, 44, 101-125.