Immigrant Enclaves and Ethnic Communities in New York and Los Angeles

by John R. Logan, Wenquan Zhang, Richard D. Alba
Immigrant Enclaves and Ethnic Communities in New York and Los Angeles
John R. Logan, Wenquan Zhang, Richard D. Alba
American Sociological Review
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The predominant post-1965 immigrant groups have established distinctive settlement areas in many American cities and suburbs. These areas are generally understood in terms of an "immigrant enclave" model in which ethnic neighborhoods in central cities serve relatively impoverished new arrivals as a potential base for eventual spatial assimilation with the white majority. This model, and the "ethnic commu- nity" model, are evaluated here. In the ethnic community model, segregated settle- ment can result from group preferences even when spatial assimilation is otherwise

feasible. Analysis of the residential patterns of the largest immigrant groups in New

York and Los Angeles shows that most ethnic neighborhoods can be interpreted as

immigrant enclaves. In some cases, howevel; living in ethnic neighborhoods is unre-

lated to economic constraints, indicating a positive preference for such areas. Sub-

urban residence does not necessarily imply living outside of ethnic neighborhoods.

Indeed, for several groups the suburban enclave provides an alternative to assimila-

tion-it is an ethnic community in a relatively high-status setting.

THE NEIGHBORHOOD has long been considered a key facet of immigrant life. Despite dispute over the importance of neighborhoods for the average urban resident (Kasarda and Janowitz 1974; Logan and Molotch 1987; Wellman 1979; Wirth 1938), there is wide agreement that neighborhoods

Direct all correspondence to John Logan, De- partment of Sociology, University at Albany, Al- bany, NY 12222 This re- search was supported by a grant from National Science Foundation (SBR95-07920) and by the Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research. The Center for Social and Demographic Analysis, University at Al- bany, provided technical and administrative sup- port through grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (P30 HD32041) and the National Science Foundation (SBR-9512290). We are grateful for the assis- tance of the staff of the Census Data Research Center at UCLA in the use of confidential census files at the Center.

continue to have an important function for new arrivals. This is particularly evident for people whose customs or language set them apart from the majority population. A long- established line of thought holds that concen- trated immigrant settlement areas arise and are maintained because they meet newcom- ers' needs for affordable housing, family ties, a familiar culture, and help in finding work (e.g., Thomas and Znaniecki [I9271 1974). We call attention to another kind of ethnic neighborhood, one based more on choice than on constraints.

According to the well-known model of "spatial assimilation" (Massey 1985), segre- gation is natural as a group enters the United States. In the beginning, people's limited market resources and ethnically bound cul- tural and social capital are mutually reinforc- ing; they work in tandem to sustain ethnic neighborhoods. But these are transitional neighborhoods-they represent a practical and temporary phase in the incorporation of


REVIEW,2002, VOL. 67 (A~~1~:299-322) 299

new groups into American society. Their resi- dents search for areas with more amenities as soon as their economic situations improve, their outlooks broaden, and they learn to navigate daily life in a more mainstream set- ting. People with more financial resources and mainstream jobs avoid ethnic zones, and these areas are left behind by immigrants with more experience and by the second gen- eration in search of the "Promised Land."

We use the term immigrant enclave to re- fer to such neighborhoods.' Earlier in this century, Chicago School ecologists recog- nized immigrant enclaves and gave them names like Little Sicily, Greektown, and Chinatown (Burgess [I9251 1967). Portes and Jensen (1987) emphasize that today, even in the Miami region, where a vibrant Cuban enclave economy is highly concentrated in Hialeah and in the Little Havana section of Miami, immigrant businessmen, profession- als, and better-paid employees have aban- doned their original settlement areas and moved toward more affluent suburbs.

Immigrant enclaves can be identified by their physical characteristics (by the usual standards of mainstream society, they are less desirable as places to live) and by the characteristics of the people who live in them (they concentrate immigrants who are recently arrived and have few socioeco- nomic resources). By implication, the neigh- borhoods to which upwardly mobile group members diffuse are less ethnically distinct and have greater economic resources.

We believe that changes in the natures of urban space and of immigration have begun to alter the function of ethnic neighborhoods for some groups or individual group mem- bers. Most important, there is now potential for acculturation and market position to be decoupled. The assimilation model was built from the experience of immigrants from the late nineteenth century. These immigrants entered American cities, in which working- class people had to live near their places of

' A similar term, ethnic enclave economy, has been used to designate certain forms of group concentration in the local labor market. We re- strict our use of the term immigrant enclave to residential concentrations, although we also study the relationship between living in ethnic neighborhoods and working in ethnic jobs.

employment and had little contact with people outside their neighborhood. Today, the automobile and other systems of trans- portation and communication have weak- ened the connection of home to work and enlarged the geographic scale of people's active social networks. Growing shares of immigrants live and work in suburbs (Alba et al. 1999). In addition, most immigrants a century ago were manual laborers without the financial resources to have much control over where they lived. The contemporary immigration stream is more diverse and in- cludes many immigrants with high levels of human capital who find professional or other high-status positions in the United States. (Nee and Sanders 2001; Portes and Rumbaut 1990).

I As a result, some groups are now able to

I establish enclaves in desirable locations, of- ten in suburbia, and group members may choose these locations even when spatial as- similation is feasible. Living in an ethnic neighborhood may still be an "ethnic" behavior as posited by the assimilation model,

1 more typical of newer immigrants with nar-

I rower horizons. But if living in these zones is not associated with low economic stand- ing or a need to find work in the ethnic

1 economy-that is, if it is not at the same time an adaptation to circumstance-we 1 must reconsider whether the ethnic choice 1 stems from constraint or from preference.

1 For some, the ethnic neighborhood is a start- ing point; for others, it may be a favored des- tination. We use the term ethnic community to refer to ethnic neighborhoods that are se- lected as living environments by those who have wider options based on their market re- sources. The ethnic community, as we define it here, is formed through a different social process than is the immigrant enclave. It is grounded in motives associated more with taste and preference than with economic ne- cessity, or even with the ambition to create neighborhoods that will symbolize and sus- tain ethnic identity. Bonacich (1973) sug- gests that residential self-segregation is typi- cal of middleman minorities, which "form highly organized communities which resist assimilation" (p. 586). Zhou (1992) inter- prets the satellite Chinatowns that have emerged in Flushing and other outlying parts

of the New York region in this way. Horton (1995) describes a similar pattern for subur- ban Monterey Park, located not far from downtown Los Angeles, that was aggressively marketed by Chinese American devel- opers to well-heeled immigrants and inves- tors from Taiwan and Hong Kong. Marcuse (1997) also calls attention to such areas, "in which members of a particular population group, self-defined by ethnicity or religion or otherwise, congregate as a means of en- hancing their economic, social, political and/ or cultural development" (p. 242).

The Chicago School ecologists noticed an element of preference as well as necessity in the creation of immigrant colonies. But be- cause both preference and necessity operated in the same direction-because the immi- grants they studied appeared to have little choice in where to live-preference was of secondary importance in their theory of spa- tial assimilation. What makes it potentially more significant today is the presence of im- migrant groups with high levels of human and financial capital, such as Asian Indians, who have the means to translate their prefer- ences for residing in a culturally familiar en- vironment into residential niches in affluent areas. These are the groups for which we ex- pect to find ethnic communities. By contrast, the areas of concentration established by low-wage labor migrant groups, such as Mexicans, are less likely to hold their more successful and more acculturated members; these areas, then, may look more like immi- grant enclaves. We hypothesize that the mar- ket resources that immigrant groups bring with them are the primary determinant of the kinds of neighborhoods they establish (Nee and Sanders 2001).

We must also bear in mind a third type of segregated neighborhood: the minority ghetto. Again, the ghetto reflects an entirely different social process, the exclusion of groups from certain locations regardless of their personal resources and preferences. Massey and Denton (1993) refer to this as residential apartheid. All three forms of seg- regated neighborhoods are ideal types, and aspects of all three may apply to some groups, including African Americans. For example, some studies (e.g., Alba, Logan, and Stults 2000) show that the locational process underlying black neighborhoods has a key feature in common with that produc- ing immigrant enclaves as we describe them: African Americans with high income and education are more likely to live in suburbs, in areas with high proportions of nonblack residents, and in neighborhoods that are safe and well-to-do. This suggests that the black middle class can navigate the housing mar- ket to meet their needs more freely than can poor blacks (Wilson 1987). Those who have more market choice may exercise this choice to achieve a modicum of spatial assimila- tion. Immigrant enclaves and minority ghet- tos may also be alike in other ways, both ex- hibiting a prevalence of cheap and densely populated housing stock, inner city location, poverty, and other indicators of dependency. The difference is that the enclave is under- stood to be a temporary residential way-sta- tion, while the ghetto is thought to ensnare people in a system that "did not allow blacks to be immigrants" (Logan and Molotch

1987:126, italics in the original). Even the most affluent African Americans have less residential mobility and live in less desirable neighborhoods than do comparable whites (Logan, Alba, McNulty, and Fisher 1996; South and Crowder 1997). Thus, if the black neighborhood is a platform for mobility for African Americans, as the enclave is posited to be for immigrants, it is a very limited one, and this circumstance justifies thinking of it as a ghett~.~

Black neighborhoods may also have some- thing in common with ethnic communities: an element of self-segregation. Surveys of middle-class African Americans reveal a re- luctance to live in mostly white communities (Feagin and Sikes 1994:264-65; Rose 1981). Some researchers (e.g., Clark 1991; Shelling 1971) have suggested that such preferences contribute strongly to racial segregation. But the prevailing view is that black residential choice is highly constrained by a dual hous- ing market (Galster 1988; Yinger 1987). And because those African Americans with the most resources, and therefore the most op- tions in the housing market, are the least

Wirth ([I9281 1965) used this same term to refer to the second-generation Jewish settlements that he studied, at least partly because of the re- strictions imposed on Jewish home-seekers at that time in many American cities.

likely to live in highly segregated settings, it does not seem likely that they have strong in- group preferences.

The ethnic neighborhoods of some immi- grant groups have a ghetto quality in the sense that we have used the term. Certainly some groups (such as the Afro-Caribbeans and Dominicans in our study) experience housing discrimination. Evidence that a group remains highly segregated over an ex- tended period, that few group members ever achieve sufficient resources to leave their enclaves, and that those who try to leave are subject to unequal treatment in the housing market would indicate the need to go beyond the immigrant enclave versus ethnic commu- nity typology that we apply here.


We study the New York and Los Angeles metropolitan regions in 1990, including the seven or eight largest immigrant groups in each region, and encompassing both group members born abroad and those in the sec- ond and later generations in the United States. We apply novel methods of identify- ing ethnic neighborhoods and analyzing who lives in them, and we compare ethnic and nonethnic neighborhoods along a variety of social and economic dimensions.

Our interpretation of results follows a logic that is consistent with the traditional litera- ture on spatial assimilation. Suppose that for a given group we find that having greater economic and social resources, being more culturally assimilated, and residing in the suburbs is associated with living outside of ethnic neighborhoods. Suppose, in addition, that ethnic neighborhoods have larger shares of immigrants and non-English speakers and also lower economic standing than the other neighborhoods in which group members live. We will take these results to mean that the locational process is one of spatial assimila- tion and will interpret ethnic neighborhoods like this as immigrant enclaves.

Alternatively, people with more resources may be equally likely or even more likely to live in ethnic neighborhoods, and these eth- nic neighborhoods may prove comparable in economic standing to other locales. Such neighborhoods may be capable of holding onto long-resident immigrants, the second generation, and group members who have become fluent in English. We will interpret the pattern for this group as ethnic commu- nity.

We anticipate that groups will differ in their locational processes. The immigrant enclave will prove more valuable in under- standing the pattern for groups with large numbers of economic refugees without ur- ban market skills, while the ethnic commu- nity will apply better to groups who enter the country with substantial resources.


New York and Los Angeles are natural labo- ratories for studying the residential patterns of immigrant groups in the American me- tropolis. They have in common the extraor- dinary size and diversity of their immigrant populations, but they represent distinct eras of urban development-New York, the nine- teenth-century walking city with a 100-year history of immigrant neighborhoods, and Los Angeles, the California automobile city settled mainly by second- and third-genera- tion Americans.

New York, like most large American cities in the Northeast and Midwest, is a product of immigration, and every successive wave of immigrants since the mid-nineteenth cen- tury has left its mark on its neighborhoods. Some white ethnic neighborhoods from the turn of the century lasted less than a genera- tion, for example, the important Jewish settlement in Central Harlem between 1910 and 1925 (Gurock 1979). Others, like Italian Bensonhurst in Brooklyn (Alba, Logan, and Crowder 1997), are still known as ethnic en- claves. Today's new immigrants therefore recreate an established pattern of segregated living, whether in neighborhoods with a tra- dition of passage from one ethnic group to another (like Manhattan's Lower East Side, which was German Deutschland early in its history, then Jewish, and more recently Puerto Rican and Dominican), or in new, even suburban locations (such as Asian neighborhoods in northern New Jersey).

In the New York-New Jersey metropoli- tan region (CMSA) in 1990 there were seven Latino and Asian groups with more than 100,000 people, counting group members in

the first and later generations. In New York, the largest new immigrant group was Afro- Caribbean, from a set of islands in the En- glish-speaking West Indies and Haiti, with more than 500,000 by 1990. Nearly as nu- merous were the Dominicans (more than 400,000) and Chinese (more than 300,000). The remaining ethnic groups in New York were Asian Indians (nearly 200,000), Cu- bans (about 150,000), and Koreans and Fili- pinos (both just over 100,000). Larger than any of these groups was the Puerto Rican population (close to 1,250,000). We do not include Puerto Ricans here because they ar- rived mainly before 1970, representing a dif- ferent era of population movements to New York. The new immigrant groups grew rap- idly from 1980 to 1990, approximately dou- bling in most cases.3

Los Angeles, by contrast, is a twentieth- century creation. Although it inherited small numbers of Mexicans and Japanese from an earlier era, it was first catapulted into the ranks of major cities by the arrival of sec- ond- and later-generation European-origin whites from other regions of the United States, many of whom moved directly into outlying neighborhoods and suburbs (Laslett 1996). Its white ethnic and Mexican enclaves were relatively small at mid-century, although many Mexicans-mostly the result of immigration after 1920-were concentrated in former agricultural districts outside

The U.S. Census provides several different ways of identifying these population groups, each of which yields a different estimate of their size. We employed definitions that allow us to iden- tify groups consistently with both the 1990 Sum- mary Tape Files and the 1990 Public Use Micro- data that are required for our analyses. Asian groups are identified by the racial categories in the census. Latino groups are identified by the census's Hispanic origin categories. And Afro- Caribbeans are defined by the ancestry category of "West Indian, except Hispanic origin groups." The latter regrettably does not include Guyana.

The 1980 STF and PUMS files allow the same Asian groups to be identified by race and Afro- Caribbeans by ancestry. Mexicans and Cubans are listed in the 1980 Hispanic origin categories. But Dominicans, Salvadorans, and Guatemalans cannot be identified in the 1980 STF by Hispanic origin or by ancestry. Their total number (in Table 1) is drawn from the 1980 PUMS ancestry categories.

the city (Sanchez 1993). In the Los Angeles region, therefore, most of today's immigrant neighborhoods are of relatively recent vin- tage, and some are rural settlements con- verted into suburbs.

In Los Angeles-Long Beach in 1990 there were eight immigrant groups with more than 100,000 residents each in 1990. By far the most numerous were Mexicans, nearing 4 million by 1990-a full quarter of the region's population. Salvadorans, Chinese, and Filipinos numbered in the vicinity of 300,000 by 1990 (more than doubling since 1980). The numbers of Koreans (about 200,000) and Vietnamese and Guatemalans (both about 150,000) had also more than doubled, while the Japanese (about 175,000, mainly of the third and fourth generations) had grown more moderately.

Despite their differences of history and geography, New York and Los Angeles now stand together as homes to the largest and most diverse populations of new immigrant groups in the nation. We expect these two cities to be similar in many respects, with the main differences associated with Los Angeles's greater suburbanization. New York is about evenly split between city and sub- urb, while Los Angeles is heavily suburban, and its suburban Mexicans, Chinese, Filipi- nos, Koreans, Japanese, and Vietnamese ac- tually outnumber their in-city counterparts. Suburbanization might be expected to have a large impact on the formation of ethnic neighborhoods, as a long-standing hypoth- esis of the spatial-assimilation model is that segregation is weaker in suburban settings than in urban ones (Massey 1985). And sub- urban areas in which group members live may be unlike the typical immigrant enclave that sociologists have described in central cities. Our sample allows us to compare cen- tral city and suburban patterns in both metro- politan areas and evaluate how suburbani- zation influences ethnic neighborhood for- mation.


Ethnic neighborhoods are most often identi- fied and studied through fieldwork in which the researcher typically begins with the knowledge that the ethnic character of a given locale is socially recognized-cer-

tainly by group members and perhaps also by others. This ethnic character may be vis- ible through the observation of people in public places, the names of shops or the lan- guages found on signs or spoken by clerks or patrons, or by community institutions such as churches, social clubs, and associa- tions.

Our study follows a different tradition- one that relies on census data. Criteria vary across studies, but there appears to be con- sensus on two dimensions: concentration and spatial clustering. Alba et al. (1997) operationalized an ethnic neighborhood as "a set of contiguous tracts, which must con- tain at least one tract where a group is repre- sented as 40% or more of the residents and whose other tracts each have a level of eth- nic concentration among residents of at least 35%" (p. 893). The largest group they stud- ied was Italians (28 percent of whites in the region); hence, in the minimal case, an "Ital- ian neighborhood" had to have at least one tract in which Italians were 1.4 times their average concentration.

Because a given group is not necessarily a majority in an ethnic neighborhood some zones may contain "ethnic neighborhoods" of more than one group. Philpott (1978) has pointed out that the principal Swedish ghetto identified by Park and Burgess in Chicago in 1930 was only 24 percent Swed- ish; the German ghetto was only 32 percent German. Some places today have interna- tional reputations as ethnic neighborhoods despite having modest percentages of group members. For example, parts of Los Ange- les "are so heavily identified with Arme- nians that when prospective emigrants in Armenia or Iran are asked about their desti- nation, they may answer 'Hollywood' or 'Glendale,' respectively, instead of America" (Bozorgmehr, Der-Martirosian, and Sabagh 1996:368). Yet in 1990, Arme- nians made up only about 25 percent of residents of Hollywood and Glendale, reaching a maximum of 33 percent in their most "Armenian" tract, and only 10 to 15 percent in their peripheries.

Among well-known contemporary Chi- nese neighborhoods, the core immigrant area of Flushing (in Queens, New York) studied by Zhou (1992) was only 14 percent Chinese in 1990. Monterey Park, California was less than 25 percent Chinese in the mid-1980s when Horton (1995) began to study it. A re- cent study of minority groups in Los Ange- les defined Asian residential enclaves as ar- eas that were as little as 10 percent Asian (Bobo et al. 2000).

Can contemporary ethnic neighborhoods with such modest shares of group members still support an ethnic infrastructure (reli- gious institutions, social networks, shops)? There is at this time no scientific answer to this question. The requisite research show- ing how different levels of group concentra- tion may be associated with people's percep- tions of an area or with ethnic institutions has not been conducted. We suspect, though, that advances in transportation and commu- nication have allowed ethnic neighborhoods to spread out and encompass somewhat larger zones of lower absolute group density than was true a century ago.

Besides the level of concentration in any single tract, a striking feature of the resi- dential pattern of many new immigrant groups is the extent to which their concen- trations are spatially clustered and often spread over large areas (see, for example, the maps of the Los Angeles metropolis presented in Allen and Turner 1997). We suspect that clustering in adjacent tracts ac- centuates the ethnic character and reputa- tion of neighborhoods by aggregating more group members in a delimited space (com- pared with a situation in which single tracts with high concentrations are spatially iso- lated). Researchers have always intuitively made use of contiguity in mapping ethnic neighborhoods. Thanks to recent advances in spatial analysis, it is now possible to measure such clustering systematically. Re- sponding in part to concerns about spatial autocorrelation, geographers have devel- oped several indicators of the extent to which the spatial distribution of place char- acteristics departs from a "random" pattern. Anselin (1995) has extended this work to a class of "local indicators of spatial associa- tion" (LISA), which offer a measure for each place of the extent of significant spa- tial clustering of similar values around it. In brief, LISA indicators identify "hot spots" that take into account not only un- usually high or low values in a single place (such as a census tract) but also the values in nearby places. Our approach to identify- ing ethnic neighborhoods is based mainly on this kind of spatial clustering.

Concretely, using Spacestat exploratory spatial analysis software in conjunction with ArcView mapping software, we iden- tify clusters of census tracts that have sta- tistically significant values of local Moran's I (I,), indicating unusually high values of a group's pre~ence.~

As measured this way, a "cluster" is made up of a single focal cen- sus tract along with all tracts that surround and share a boundary with it. In fact, most such clusters are not isolated, but extend continuously over areas containing many tracts. It is usually only at the edges of these larger ethnic neighborhoods that the ethnic concentration thins out. At the edge, we include within the ethnic neighborhood all of the focal tracts of the clusters, plus those surrounding tracts in each cluster whose group concentrations are equal to the average concentration of the rest of the neighborhood.

In the absence of established criteria on how to identify ethnic neighborhoods, we wondered whether the pattern of results that we report is affected by the classification scheme. To test the robustness of our find- ings, we experimented with alternative clas- sification schemes. In one, we adopted the "double share" criterion used by Alba et al. (1997). Applied to Mexicans in Los Angeles, this led to a cutting point of 50 percent for "Mexican" neighborhoods. No other group studied here includes more than 3 percent of the metropolitan population, and for all of them we applied a minimum threshold of 10 percent. In another scheme, we required that the group's odds-ratio in a tract be 5.0 or above. For Mexicans, this level is reached for census tracts that are more than 63.6 percent

Following Anselin (1995) the "local Moran statistic for an observation i may be defined as

Ii= ziCwijzj, (1)


where, analogous to the global Moran's I, the observations zi and z, are in deviations from the mean, and the summation over j is such that only neighboring values j E Jiare included. For ease of interpretation, the [spatial] weights wi,may be in row-standardized form . . . and by convention, wii = 0" (p. 98).

Mexican. For other groups, it is reached when group members make up between 3.0 percent (for the smallest group, Filipinos in New York) and 13.4 percent (for the largest remaining group, Afro-Caribbeans in New York) of the population. We also tested a modification of the cluster methodology, identifying as "ethnic neighborhoods" only those spatial clusters in which at least one census tract has at least 15 percent (or alter- natively, 20 percent) group members.

Most results (other than the number of ethnic neighborhoods, which is directly de- rived from the classification criterion) are stable regardless of the classification proce- dure used. This robustness stems from two related sources. First, for all groups the greatest share of group members is found in those tracts with high levels of concentra- tion. Relatively few group members are moved from an ethnic neighborhood to a nonethnic neighborhood by the different definitions that we evaluated. Second, the vast majority of census tracts have only tiny shares of any of these groups. Consider the Mexicans. Although they compose 25 per- cent of the Los Angeles population, less than one tract in five is as high as 5 percent Mexican. Turning to the remaining groups, no more than 30 percent of tracts have above 2 percent of group members among their residents. Hence most tracts will be classified as "nongroup" under any classifi- cation scheme.

To illustrate the neighborhoods identified through spatial analysis, Figure 1 provides maps showing the spatial clusters of two groups: Afro-Caribbeans in New York and Chinese in Los Angeles. Similar published maps of the settlement patterns of many other groups are available for New York City (Mollenkopf 1993) and for the Los An- geles metropolis (Allen and Turner 1997). Ethnic neighborhoods (that is, contiguous tracts with significant spatial clustering scores) are darkly shaded. Nonneighbor- hood census tracts are shown in two ways: The lightest shaded areas are suburban, and the moderately shaded areas are within the central cities.

There are several large concentrations of Afro-Caribbeans in the New York metropo- lis (Crowder 1999). Crown HeightsIFlatbush is located in the center of Brooklyn. Jamaica

hoods and nonethnic neighborhoods) in which the average group member lives. Data are provided separately for tracts in the cen- tral city and suburban portions of each met- ropolitan region.

Our final step is to estimate models predict- ing the probability that a group member re- sides in an ethnic neighborhood. Publicly available data would not allow us to base this analysis directly on characteristics of the person's census tract because the smallest unit of geography for which the 1990 PUMS identifies individuals' location is an area of approximately 100,000 persons, termed a PUMA (Public Use Microdata Area). (One publicly available national data set, the PUMS-F, contains census microdata matched to tract characteristics; however, this file does not identify specific cities or metropolitan areas, and it is therefore not useful for our purpose.) A PUMA is much larger than a census tract, and in most cases larger than any ethnic neighborhood. For this reason, we use confidential census files (the CENSAS data set) that are accessible for use under secure conditions at the Cen- sus Bureau's Census Data Research Centers. CENSAS has the obvious advantage of iden- tifying the census tract of residence, and the additional advantage of including a 15 per- cent sample of the population.

The dependent variable in our analysis is binary: whether the tract of residence is in- side or outside of an ethnic neighborhood, as identified above. For each group, we se- lect one group member in the household for study, either the householder or the house- holder's spouse (if only one belongs to the group in question, then we take that person; when both do we choose randomly between them. We evaluate the following variables, whose effects are anticipated by the spatial assimilation model:

(1) NATIVITY.Group members born in the United States are expected to be less likely to live in ethnic neighborhoods than are im- migrants; among immigrants, the most re- cent arrivals are expected to be most likely to live in residential enclaves. Nativity is represented by three dummy variables: Im- migrated after 1985, between 1965 and 1985, and before 1965. U.S.-born is treated as the reference category.


In tandem with nativity, language is considered to be an indicator of cultural assimilation. Bilingual persons who speak English poorly are most likely to live in residential enclaves (while at the same time, residential segregation could impede learning or using English). Language is rep- resented by two dummy variables, with "speaking only English at home" treated as the reference category. Two dummy vari- ables refer to those who speak another lan- guage at home: speaking English well and speaking English poorly.

(3) EDUCATION.Education (years of schooling completed) is a standard indicator of socioeconomic status. Once other more strictly economic indicators are controlled, however, education may also be an indicator of cultural adaptability (the cosmopolitan outlook that is posited in modernization theory) or cultural experience (for those who were educated partly in the United States). Whether for economic or cultural reasons, the assimilation model expects more highly educated people to be less likely to live in an ethnic neighborhood.

(4)HOUSEHOLD INCOME AND HOME- OWNERSHIP. Household income (expressed in thousands of dollars) and homeownership (a dummy variable) are both direct indica- tors of socioeconomic achievement, pre- sumed to be negatively associated with liv- ing in an ethnic neighborhood.

(5)ETHNICEMPLOYMENT. Responding to the literature on ethnic economies, we in- clude two indicators of position in the labor force. The first is whether any household member is self-employed. Business owners among immigrant groups (net of the effect of their possibly higher income) may depend on connections with co-ethnics as consum- ers or as sources of supplies or labor; this consideration advances the hypothesis that owners are more likely to live in ethnic neighborhoods. But workers may be equally dependent on such ties in finding employ- ment. Hence self-employment is not in itself a convincing indicator of ethnic dependency. Better are measures of the industry sectors in which people work, because ethnic econo- mies are so often concentrated in certain sec-

tors. Following procedures established in I RESULTS

prior work (~ogai et al. 2000), we identify ethnic sectors of three types: (a) those in which the group is overrepresented as both owners and workers (an enclave sector), (b) those in which the group is overrepresented only as owners (an entrepreneurial niche), and (c) those in which the group is overrep- resented only as workers (a labor niche). Ac- cording to the assimilation model, group members in any of these types of ethnic sec- tors will be more likely to live in ethnic neighborhoods.

Two life-cycle indicators are included as control variables: the person's age and whether the person lives in a married-couple household. The theoretical models offer no clear expectations about the effects of these variables. Young adults may be more likely than older people of the same immigrant generation to wish to leave the enclave. But it could also be argued that older people have had more time in which to exercise this option. Married-couple households may have more residential options than single persons, although in some instances it might be expected that they would prefer-in raising their children-to live in the enclave.

We also include a variable representing city versus suburban location. Because a few tracts cross city boundaries and therefore in- clude both city and suburban portions, we define this variable as the proportion of tract residents in its suburban portion (ranging from 0 to 1). (Where this proportion was less than .O1 or greater than .99, it was rounded to 0 or 1.) Inclusion of this variable is sub- ject to criticism because suburban location itself is an important residential outcome, likely to be related to other variables in the model. However, we examined the results for equations with and without suburban lo- cation as a predictor, and we found that its inclusion does not substantially change the interpretation of effects of other variables. The purpose of this variable is to test whether, having controlled for other factors, group members who live in the suburbs are less likely than those in the central city to live in residential enclaves, as traditionally supposed.



Using the methods described above, we identified ethnic neighborhoods for every group in the study. This section summarizes their number, location, and ethnic composi- tion. Tables la and lb categorize census tracts as those that are in ethnic neighbor- hoods and those that are outside of them, in cities and in suburbs. The number of tracts in each category are listed for both New York (Table 1 a) and Los Angeles (Table 1 b), as well as the number of group members and the percentage of the region's group mem- bers in those tracts. Additional indicators in- clude the percentage of the neighborhood population that is from each ethnic group, and the percentage of non-Hispanic whites. These latter two indicators are weighted av- erages, where the weight is the number of group members in the tract. Hence, they are equivalent to the isolation index (exposure of the group to itself) and the exposure in- dex (exposure to non-Hispanic whites) for each category of tracts.

These tables demonstrate that ethnic neighborhoods contain group concentrations that are far above each group's average rep- resentation in the region, but modest concen- trations in absolute terms. Concentrations range from about 5 percent for the smallest groups up to about 30 percent (and consid- erably higher for Mexicans). Even at these concentrations, no group has less than 30 percent of its members in such locales, and for some groups a majority is in ethnic neighborhoods. Ethnic neighborhoods in New York are mostly urban, while those in Los Angeles are more often found in subur- bia. Exposure to non-Hispanic whites is uni- formly higher for group members who live outside of ethnic neighborhoods, particularly in the suburbs. There are substantial varia- tions within these parameters:

(1) For two groups in New York, a major- ity of their members live in ethnic neighbor- hoods: Dominicans (65.4 percent) and Afro- Caribbeans (55.2 percent). Chinese (48.4 percent), Koreans (49.3 percent), and Cu- bans (42.3 percent) are also high. Indians

(38.9 percent) and Filipinos (31.3 percent) are at the lower end. The range in Los Ange-

Table la. Distribution of Group Members across Different Kinds of Neighborhoods: New York, 1990


Ethnic Group Nongroup Ethnic Group and Characteristic Neighborhood Neighborhood


Number of tracts 361 2,124 Number of Afro-Caribbean 260,273 147,873 Percent of region's Afro-Caribbeans 50.5 28.7 Mean percent Afro-Caribbean 28.5 5.7 Mean percent non-Hispanic white 8.3 23.4


Number of tracts 68 2,417 Number of Cubans 23,458 54,700 Percent region's Cubans 15.0 35.0 Mean percent Cuban 9.2 1.8 Mean percent non-Hispanic white 34.4 40.7


Number of tracts 298 2,187 Number of Dominicans 253,875 105,317 Percent region's Dominicans 62.9 26.1 Mean percent Dominican 3 1.4 4.4 Mean percent non-Hispanic white 10.0 30.8

Asian Indian

Number of tracts 219 2266 Number of Asian Indians 5 1,709 48,352 Percent region's Asian Indians 27.6 25.8 Mean percent Asian Indian 8.4 2.4 Mean percent non-Hispanic white 35.8 45.8


Number of tracts 296 2,189 Number of Chinese 153,625 90,773 Percent region's Chinese 48.4 28.6 Mean percent Chinese 30.9 3.8 Mean percent non-Hispanic white 37.9 56.6


Number of tracts 141 2,344 Number of Filipinos 27,323 33,053 Percent region's Filipinos 26.1 31.6 Mean percent Filipino 8.1 2.1 Mean percent non-Hispanic white 39.1 53.6


Number of tracts 152 2,333 Number of Koreans 46,058 28,184 Percent region's Koreans 39.2 24.0 Mean percent Korean 12.7 1.9 Mean percent non-Hispanic white 41.9 63.6


Ethnic Group Nongroup Neighborhood Neighborhood

29 2,047 24,044 83,147

4.7 16.1

18.3 5.7

27.7 49.8

63 2,013 42,702 35,421

27.3 22.7

25.7 1.3

32.7 75.1

17 2,059 10,045 34,693

2.5 8.6

14.5 5.5

18.2 52.0

7 1 2,005 21,144 66,139

11.3 35.3

11.1 2.1

64.0 80.3

-a 2076 -72,712 -22.9 -2.7 -83.0

30 2,046 5,393 38,810

5.2 37.1

4.3 1.6

68.8 78.0

34 2,042 11,287 32,077

9.6 27.3

7.9 1.5

76.8 83.2

aThere are no Chinese suburban neighborhoods in New York.

Table lb. Distribution of Group Members across Different Kinds of Neighborhoods: Los Angeles, 1990

City   Suburb
Ethnic Group   Nongroup Ethnic Group Nongroup
Ethnic Group and Characteristic Neighborhood Neighborhood Neighborhood Neighborhood
Number of tracts          
Number of Guatemalans          
Percent of region's Guatemalans          
Mean percent Guatemalan          
Mean percent non-Hispanic white          
Number of tracts          
Number of Mexicans          
Percent of region's Mexicans          
Mean percent Mexican          
Mean percent non-Hispanic white          
Number of tracts          
Number of Salvadorans          
Percent of region's Salvadorans          
Mean percent Salvadoran          
Mean percent non-Hispanic white          
Number of tracts          
Number of Chinese          
Percent of region's Chinese          
Mean percent Chinese          
Mean percent non-Hispanic white          
Number of tracts          
Number of Filipinos          
Percent of region's Filipinos          
Mean percent Filipino          
Mean percent non-Hispanic white          
Number of tracts          
Number of Japanese          
Percent of region's Japanese          
Mean percent Japanese          
Mean percent non-Hispanic white          
Number of tracts          
Number of Koreans          
Percent of region's Koreans          
Mean percent Korean          
Mean percent non-Hispanic white          
Number of tracts          
Number of Vietnamese          
Percent of region's Vietnamese          
Mean percent Vietnamese          
Mean percent nowHispanic white          

les is from Salvadorans (55.5 percent) to Japanese (32.3 percent) and Filipinos (39.4 percent).

The New York ethnic neighborhoods are mostly located in the central cities rather than in suburbs (by a factor of 5 to 1 or more; at the extreme, we identify no subur- ban Chinese tracts). Cubans are an excep- tion: The big Cuban neighborhoods (found especially in New Jersey) are suburban. By contrast, in Los Angeles several groups' neighborhoods are predominantly suburban: the Mexicans, Chinese, Japanese, and Viet- namese. Only the Salvadoran and Guatema- lan neighborhoods are overwhelmingly found in the city.
Some census tracts have extremely high concentrations of group members, but the levels of ethnic concentration experi- enced by the average group member in an ethnic neighborhood are often modest. In New York, they range from a low value of

4.3 percent Filipino in Filipino suburban neighborhoods to a high of around 30 per- cent in Afro-Caribbean, Dominican, and Chinese city neighborhoods. There is a clear distinction between city and suburban neighborhoods: For most New York groups (Cubans and Indians are exceptions), their city neighborhoods have much higher shares of group members. Because of the large size of the Mexican population in Los Angeles, Mexican neighborhoods have a majority of Mexican residents-about 70 percent in both city and suburb. Neighbor- hoods of other groups have much smaller shares, from a low of 5 percent Guatemalan in this group's few suburban tracts to nearly 30 percent in urban Chinese zones. Unlike New York, Los Angeles's suburban neigh- borhoods in many cases are as ethnic as those in the city-there is virtually no dif- ference for Mexicans, Filipinos, Japanese, and Vietnamese.

(4) Exposure to non-Hispanic whites gen- erally follows the inverse of the pattern de- scribed above. In every case, exposure is higher outside of ethnic neighborhoods, sometimes by a small amount (only about 6 to 7 percentage points for suburban Koreans and urban Cubans in New York) and some- times by wide margins (suburban Domini- cans and Mexicans outside of ethnic neigh- borhoods and urban Koreans in Los Angeles live in majority-white areas, compared with 20 percent white or less in ethnic neighbor- hoods). Regardless of whether people live in ethnic neighborhoods, exposure to whites is much greater in the suburbs than in the city. (In Los Angeles there are two exceptions, Salvadorans and Guatemalans, whose expo- sure to whites is low, and no higher in sub- urbs than in the city.) In this respect, subur- ban residence does imply a degree of spatial assimilation.


An initial way to assess the immigrant en- clave and ethnic community models is by comparing neighborhoods at the aggregate level. Tables 2a and 2b present the pertinent data (the average tract values in each cat- egory of neighborhood weighted by the num- ber of group members in each tract). Are eth- nic neighborhoods more likely to be made up of immigrants with limited English language facility, as posited by the immigrant enclave model? Do they also serve a low-income population with low occupational standing? Or is there evidence of other kinds of neigh- borhoods, ethnic neighborhoods that may of- fer a resource-rich living environment for at least some group members?

(1) NATIVIW AND LANGUAGE. For every ethnic group, New York's urban ethnic neighborhoods include a high proportion of immigrants (40 to 50 percent). Such neigh- borhoods in Los Angeles (with the exception of Japanese neighborhoods with only 3 1.5 percent immigrants) are even more strongly weighted toward the foreign born-around 60 percent in four cases. In this respect, these neighborhoods resemble immigrant enclaves. The language variables lead to the same conclusion (here we disregard Afro- Caribbeans, who mainly have English as a native language). Except for the Japanese, ethnic neighborhoods in the cities have mod- est proportions (less than half) of residents who speak only English, combined with very large shares of group members (more than two-thirds) who speak their native language (for Hispanic national-origin groups, the ref- erence is to the percentage of all Hispanics in the tract who speak Spanish).

For some groups, suburban ethnic neigh-

Table 2a. Ethnic Composition and Characteristics of Different Kinds of Neighborhoods: New York, 1990

City   Suburb
Ethnic Group   Nongroup Ethnic Group Nongroup
Ethnic Group and Characteristic Neighborhood Neighborhood Neighborhood Neighborhood

Mean percent immigrant Mean percent speaking English only Median household income Mean percent in poverty Mean percent high occupation status


Mean percent immigrant Mean percent speaking English only Mean percent speaking Spanish Median household income Mean percent in poverty Mean percent high occupation status


Mean percent immigrant Mean percent speaking English only Mean percent speaking Spanish Median household income Mean percent in poverty Mean percent high occupation status

Asian Indian

Mean percent immigrant Mean percent speaking English only Mean percent speaking Indic languages Median household income Mean percent in poverty Mean percent high occupation status

borhoods have densities of immigrants equal to those in the city: Cubans and Dominicans in New York, Salvadorans in Los Angeles (and lower but still quite high, Guatemalans and Mexicans in Los Angeles). For these groups, the percentage speaking only En- glish is remarkably low, and a high percent- age of group members speak their native lan- guage. We are reminded again of the immi- grant enclave where living in an ethnic envi- ronment facilitates daily life for people less fluent in English.

Some other suburban ethnic neighbor- hoods have immigrant concentrations that

(Continued on next page)

are similar to (sometimes lower than) those of nonethnic neighborhoods in the city: Afro-Caribbeans, Indians, Filipinos, and Ko- reans in New York, Filipinos, Japanese, Ko- reans, and Vietnamese in Los Angeles. With respect to language, there are several subur- ban cases in which the percentage of all resi- dents in ethnic neighborhoods who speak only English is greater than is found in nonethnic city neighborhoods, but that none- theless have the highest shares of group members who speak their native language: Indians, Filipinos, and Koreans in New York. A similar but less pronounced result is

(Table 2a continued)

City Suburb

Ethnic Group Nongroup Ethnic Group Nongroup Ethnic Group and Characteristic Neighborhood Neighborhood Neighborhood Neighborhood


Mean percent immigrant 50.6 29.6 -a 15.2

Mean percent speaking English only 32.5 57.0 -80.7

Mean percent speaking Chinese 90.4 83.0 -79.6

Median household income $26,609 $33,504 -$58,162

Mean percent in poverty 18.1 15.2 -4.4

Mean percent high occupation status 24.6 35.2 -41.9


Mean percent immigrant 41.2 31.7 20.4 15.7

Mean percent speaking English only 46.1 55.7 71.9 78.8

Mean percent speaking Tagalag 79.1 72.6 82.0 69.1

Median household income $33,236 $34,163 $46,243 $50,700

Mean percent in poverty 14.1 13.7 4.9 5.3

Mean percent high occupation status 29.4 34.8 34.3 36.2


Mean percent immigrant 52.5 30.2 27.4 14.9

Mean percent speaking English only 36.2 58.4 65.6 80.7

Mean percent speaking Korean 90.3 85.3 90.3 72.3

Median household income $32,823 $35,182 $54,872 $56,291

Mean percent in poverty 12.5 12.8 4.1 4.2

Mean percent high occupation status 28.8 36.8 43.5 40.5

aThe effect is supressed because there are no Chinese suburban neighborhoods in New York.

found for Koreans and Vietnamese in Los appear to live in socioeconomically typical Angeles. These suburban zones are ethnic urban districts. (The average white urban neighborhoods, but they do not appear par- resident, though, lives in slightly more afflu- ticularly "immigrantw-unlike their city ent areas, with median incomes closer to counterparts. $40,000). A natural finding from the stand-

(2)SOCIOECONOMIC STANDING. Look-point of the assimilation model would be for ing only at nativity and language, almost all ethnic neighborhoods to be much poorer ethnic neighborhoods in cities seem to match than these are. This is the case for Domini- the immigrant enclave model, while substan- cans in New York: The average income level tial departures are found in the suburbs. De- of Dominican neighborhoods (weighted by viations from socioeconomic characteristics the size of the Dominican population) is un- associated with the immigrant enclave are der $20,000 and is about $7,000 less than the found in both city and suburb. nongroup neighborhoods where other Do-

We begin with the comparison of ethnic minicans tend to live. Dominican neighbor- and nonethnic neighborhoods in cities. In hoods have a much higher poverty rate (by both regions, all groups outside of their eth- 12 percentage points) and a lower share of nic neighborhoods generally live in city workers with professional, managerial, or tracts with a median household income of technical occupations (by 9 percentage $25,000 to $35,000. This is near the average points). income level for the city, meaning that these This Dominican pattern is replicated by dispersed members of new immigrant groups several other groups in their city neighbor-

Table 2b. Ethnic Composition and Characteristics of Different Kinds of Neighborhoods: Los Angeles, 1990

City   Suburb
Ethnic Group   Nongroup Ethnic Group   Nongroup
Ethnic Group and Characteristic Neighborhood Neighborhood Neighborhood Neighborhood
Mean percent immigrant 61.6 38.3 49.5 33.7
Mean percent speaking English only 24.4 46.8 27.6 49.3
Mean percent speaking Spanish 86.2 81.7 84.6 74.5
Median household income $19,574 $30,336 $24,622 $34,756
Mean percent in poverty 30.5 20.0 25.1 15.1
Mean percent high occupation status 14.6 23.0 11.7 22.6
Mean percent immigrant 51.6 36.6 43.8 22.7
Mean percent speaking English only 22.5 50.8 26.6 65.9
Mean percent speaking Spanish 80.5 78.1 77.2 67.0
Median household income $26,223 $29,508 $27,63 1 $38,249
Mean percent in poverty 25.6 20.3 20.5 11.4
Mean percent high occupation status 11.3 23.4 12.5 27.3
Mean percent immigrant        
Mean percent speaking English only 25.4 47.1 15.5 46.4
Mean percent speaking Spanish 85.7 81.0 83.9 75.3
Median household income $20,570 $30,666 $24,131 $32,913
Mean percent in poverty 29.1 19.8 23.5 16.8
Mean percent high occupation status 15.4 22.6 9.9 21.3
Mean percent immigrant        
Mean percent speaking English only 18.8 56.3 42.8 67.2
Mean percent speaking Chinese 91.9 78.3 87.6 77.4
Median household income $23,943 $38,394 $43,601 $49,144
Mean percent in poverty 23.4 15.0 12.0 8.1
Mean percent high occupation status 19.7 33.9 35.3 36.3
      (Continued on next page)

hoods, most strongly by Chinese in New sponds to what would be expected of ethnic York and Los Angeles, and Guatemalans, communities. Mexicans, Salvadorans, Filipinos, and Kore- Group neighborhoods in the suburbs ans in Los Angeles. sometimes have equivalent economic stand-

But this result is not uniform: The city ing to suburban nongroup neighborhoods, neighborhoods of Afro-Caribbeans in New as in the cases of Filipinos and Koreans in York and Vietnamese in Los Angeles are suburban Los Angeles and New York and of more afluent than the nonethnic neighbor- Japanese in Los Angeles. Further, it is rou- hoods where group members live, and there tine to find that group members who live in is little difference for Indians and Filipinos an ethnic neighborhood in the suburbs are in New York or for Japanese in Los Angeles. in a more affluent environment than their Even in the city, the economic standing of counterparts who live in nonethnic neigh- group neighborhoods sometimes corre-borhoods in the city. This is true for all

(Table 2b continued)

Ethnic Group and Characteristic


Mean percent immigrant
Mean percent speaking English only
Mean percent speaking Tagalag
Median household income
Mean percent in poverty
Mean percent high occupation status


Mean percent immigrant Mean percent speaking English only Mean percent speaking Japanese Median household income Mean percent in poverty Mean percent high occupation status


Mean percent immigrant Mean percent speaking English only Mean percent speaking Korean Median household income Mean percent in poverty Mean percent high occupation status


Mean percent immigrant Mean percent speaking English only Mean percent speaking Vietnamese Median household income Mean percent in poverty Mean percent high occupation status

groups in both regions, often by wide margins.

These aggregate data, then, suggest con- siderable reason to doubt that upward mo- bility must imply leaving ethnic locales. The ethnic neighborhood in cities is often, but not always, a low-income area resem- bling an immigrant enclave. But even when it has a strong immigrant character, the eth- nic neighborhood is not always poor, and sometimes it actually represents the most advantaged living environment in the me- tropolis.

Citv Suburb

Ethnic Group Nongroup Ethnic Group Nongroup
Neiehborhood Neiehborhood Neighborhood Neighborhood

3 1.5


47.1 $37,058





87.5 $28,195





90.1 $39,054



3 1.4


51.3 $38,477





83.0 $37,947





85.2 $32,013



30.1 21.5

57.4 69.9

50.3 42.8 $46,626 $48,715

7.6 7.5

38.5 37.0

33.4 23.7

57.2 67.1

88.3 82.9 $49,432 $47,05 1

8.1 8.0

38.6 35.9

37.8 25.4

49.8 63.3

87.4 8 1.8 $37,885 $44,211

14.1 9.6

25.6 32.0



These aggregate analyses demonstrate that ethnic neighborhoods can take many forms and that members of most groups have both the "immigrant enclave" and the "ethnic community" options. But what is the pre- dominant pattern for these groups? To an- swer this question, we use logistic regression to analyze the characteristics of group mem- bers who live inside and outside ethnic neighborhoods. Table 3a presents results for New York groups, and Table 3b presents re- sults for Los Angeles. A small number, none statistically significant, have been suppressed by the Census Research Data Center for confidentiality reasons. We summarize the results in two ways: first, by reviewing the consistency of effects of each set of pre- dictor variables, and second, by identifying clusters of groups that have similar patterns of effects.

The most successful predictors of residing in an ethnic neighborhood are language and nativity: Almost without exception, those born in the United States and those who speak only English at home are less likely to live in ethnic neighborhoods. The exception is the Japanese, and this is not surprising. The Japanese have a long-standing presence in southern California, and Japanese neigh- borhoods are composed of the descendents of earlier immigrants. More recently arrived Japanese are often not "immigrants" in the usual sense, but sojourners with ties to Japa- nese businesses. Possibly the language effect is a reciprocal one-not speaking English well may be less the cause than the conse- quence of living in a segregated setting. Still, these results are powerful evidence that assimilation in its cultural dimension is con- sistently associated with living in nonethnic settings.

Education also often has the expected ef- fect (the exceptions are for Japanese and Afro-Caribbeans). Among the socioeco- nomic variables with more specific links to market resources we find variable results. Income, the best indicator of market con- straints on home-seeking, has a significant negative effect on living in an ethnic neigh- borhood for six groups. For six other groups it has no effect, and for three others (Koreans and Filipinos in New York, Vietnamese in Los Angeles) the more affluent group mem- bers are more likely to live in ethnic areas.

Housing tenure is also directly tied to the housing search process. For nine groups, renters are significantly more likely to live in ethnic neighborhoods, as predicted by the assimilation model. For three groups, there is no effect, and in the remaining three (Afro-Caribbeans, Indians, and Filipinos in New York) it is homeowners who are more likely to live in ethnic areas.

Labor market effects are also mixed. Self-employment has only three significant effects, all negative (Indians and Filipinos in New York, Mexicans in Los Angeles). Working in ethnic labor market sectors is understood in the assimilation model to hold people within ethnic social networks. Nine groups show clear evidence of such an effect, but there is no effect for Dominicans and Koreans in New York or for Filipinos in Los Angeles, and there are mixed effects for Indians in New York. Filipinos in their en- clave sectors in New York are actually less likely to live in ethnic neighborhoods, as are Koreans in their worker niche in Los Angeles.


Suburban location has negative effects for all groups in New York except Cubans, whose Union City, New Jersey, neighbor- hoods have an urban appearance despite their classification in the census as subur-

I ban. The effect for Chinese is suppressed because there are no suburban Chinese

1 neighborhoods in New York. In Los Ange-

l les, however, the groups are evenly split,

' four significantly positive and four signifi-

1 cantly negative. The contrast between regions reflects their differences in spatial structure and emphasizes that suburban residence can be compatible with an ethnic

I environment.

I The evidence here strongly supports the

I hypothesis that living in ethnic neighbor- hoods is linked with foreign birth, limited

1 English language facility, and fewer years of

I education-these results are very much in

1 accord with spatial assimilation theory. But

1 the effects of economic variables do not con- form so well with the immigrant enclave model, and in some instances they indicate that people with fewer economic constraints are equally likely, or even more likely, to live in ethnic zones, as the ethnic commu- nity model predicts. That is, for some groups, the acculturation effects point in one direction, but the economic variables point in another. We should not be surprised to find some mixed results. In many studies of residential segregation, what is true for one group is not true for another (on this point, see Galster, Metzger, and Waite 1999). Yet this specific pattern, in which acculturation and eco- nomic constraint seem to be decoupled in

Table 3a.Unstandardized Logistic Coefficients Predicting Residence in an Ethnic Neighborhood: New York, 1990

Afro-Asian Independent Variable Caribbean Dominican Chinese Indian Cuban Korean Filipino

Nativity Post-1985immigrant .644*** .502*** .466*** .704*** 1.165*** 1.406*** .65 1 *** (.083) (.102) (.101) (.191) (.167) (.285) (.191)

1965-1985immigrant .717*** .445*** .348*** .605** 1.226*** 1.032*** .544** (.064) (.093) (.092) (.189) (.096) (.282) (. 186)

Pre-1965immigrant .lo6 -.062 .027 -a .429*** -a -a
(.091) (.120) (.1 17) (. 104)

Language Speaks English well ,053 ,088 .884*** .498*** 1.277*** 1.102*** .735*** (.054) (.112) (.106) (.065) (.I201 (.I781 (.I331

Speaks English poorly .291** .398*** 1.171*** .5 14*** 1.661 *** 1.358*** .685** (.109) (.1 12) (.ll5) (. 100) (.126) (.184) (.222)


Household income ,001 -.001 -.002** -.003*** -.002** .002** .002**
  (.OOl) (.OOl) (.OOl) (.OOl) (.OOl) (.OOl) (.OOl)

Employment Enclave sector .266*** (.067)

Worker sector .31 1 ***

Owner sector .204***

Self-employed -.lo5


Suburban location -1.994*** -1.909*** --1.219*** 1.612*** -1.279*** -1.891*** (.066) (.08 1) (.058) (.053) (.075) (.086)


Model X* 1,374.4 1,170.5 4,076.2 777.9 2,423.7 772.4 792.5

Note: Numbers in parentheses are standard errors. Omitted categories are: for nativity, "born in the U.S."; for language, "speaks English only"; for employment, "mainstream economy." a The effect is supressed because of U.S. Census Bureau confidentiality procedures. The effect is supressed because there are no Chinese suburban neighborhoods in New York. *p< .05 **p< .01 ***p < ,001 (two-tailed tests)

Table 3b.Unstandardized Logistic Coefficients Predicting Residence in an Ethnic Neighborhood: Los

Angeles, 1990
Mexican Chinese Korean Vietnamese
Independent Variable Salvadoran Filipino Japanese Guatemalan
Post-1985 immigrant .050 .483* .366*** .532*** 1.230*** -.257** .550* .694***
  (.08 1) (.196) (.100) (.108) (.194) (.096) (.275) (.199)
1965-1985 immigrant .255*** .515** .365*** .499*** .950*** -.608*** ,360 .606**
  (.062) (.192) (.091) (.099) (.190) (.081) (.27 1) (. 197)
Pre-1965 immigrant .232** ,213 ,141 ,160 ,390 -.694*** -a -a
  (.088) (.284) (.1 18) (.132) (.246) (.084)    
Speaks English well .558*** .I67 .928*** .783*** 1.067*** .350*** .819*** .I16
  (.066) (.140) (.094) (.084) (.128) (.061) (.170) (.148)
Speaks English poorly .767*** .291* 1.321*** .633*** 1.278"' .635*** 1.038*** ,291'
  (.081) (.138) (.108) (.134) (.132) (.089) (.175) (.147)
Household income -.004*** -.007*** -.001 .001 .OOO .OOO .004*** -.007***
  (.OOl) (.OOl) (.OOO) (.OOO) (.OOO) (.OOO) (.OOl) (.OOl)
Enclave sector .067
  (.05 1)
Worker sector .277**
Owner sector ,138
Self-employed -.3 18**
Suburban location .206*** -2.43 1 *** 1.427*** -.696*** -.549*** .835*** 1.076*** -1.949***
  (.043) (.062) (.054) (.044) (.048) (.049) (.057) (.065)
Model x2 569.2 2,941.5 1,595.7 637.8 824.8 588.8 601.28 1,832.6

Note: Numbers in parentheses are standard errors. Omitted categories are: for nativity, "born in the U.S."; for language, "speaks English only"; for employment, "mainstream economy."

a The effect is supressed because of U.S. Census Bureau confidentiality procedures.

*p< .05 **pi.Ol ***p < .001 (two-tailed tests)

their effects for some groups, is exactly what the ethnic community model predicts.

Let us look at the results in another way, determining, for each group in the study, the overall weight of evidence. We have already noted that the Japanese are an exceptional case, whose ethnic neighborhoods tend to draw U.S.-born Japanese and whose enclave workers are less likely than others to live in these areas. What about the other 14 groups?

We count as evidence for the immigrant enclave model those groups for which at least one economic variable (income, tenure, or employment) supports the assimilation prediction and for which none contradicts it. The Cubans provide an excellent example of this pattern-in fact, every coefficient sug- gests that those Cubans with more choices (higher income, homeowners, not working in ethnic sectors) are less likely to live in Cuban neighborhoods. Seven other groups clearly fit the same pattern: Afro-Carib- beans, Dominicans, and Chinese in New York; Mexicans, Salvadorans, Chinese, and Guatemalans in Los Angeles.

We count as evidence for the ethnic com- munity model those groups for which neither income, nor tenure, nor employment con- forms to the assimilation prediction. Two cases meet this standard: Filipinos in both New York and Los Angeles. In both loca- tions, Filipinos with more education are less likely to live in Filipino neighborhoods, but the more direct economic indicators lead to another conclusion. In New York, it is home- owners, those with higher incomes, and those who work outside ethnic sectors who are more likely to reside in ethnic areas. In Los Angeles, what stands out is simply the absence of an economic effect on residence.

For the four remaining groups, there are truly mixed results-at least one economic variable indicates that those with less op- tions tend to live in ethnic areas, and at least one variable shows the opposite effect.

The immigrant enclave model fares well overall, being fully supported in more than half the cases. But there is good evidence for the ethnic community model for two groups. We emphasize that spatial assimilation is evident in the effects of acculturation indi- cators for all of these groups and in the edu- cation effects for most of them. Evidence for economic constraint is strongest for the rela- tively low-status Hispanic groups and Afro- Caribbeans, and for the Chinese, who are known to have a bimodal class distribution (some relatively high-status members and many in the working class). Mixed results or findings supportive of the ethnic community model are found for several higher status groups: Filipinos in both regions, whose household income levels are comparable to those of non-Hispanic whites; Koreans, in- cluding many entrepreneurs and immigrants with urban middle-class backgrounds; and Indians and Japanese, also relatively afflu- ent minorities.


We have evaluated the residential patterns of 15 groups of ethnic residents in New York City and Los Angeles in two different ways. Our approach provides information on the characteristics of ethnic and nonethnic neigh- borhoods and on individuals' locations within or outside of ethnic neighborhoods. This is the first study to systematically iden- tify ethnic neighborhoods, compare them with nonethnic neighborhoods, and estimate models predicting which group members live in these neighborhoods. The findings provide much support for the immigrant enclave hy- pothesis but also show that it cannot stand alone as a model for the spatial incorporation of new groups in the metropolis.

Consider first the descriptions of ethnic and nonethnic neighborhoods for each group. The expected pattern is found for some groups: Their neighborhoods are pre- dominantly in the central cities, and living in an ethnic neighborhood means also living in a disproportionately immigrant and low- income locale. Although there has been no prior empirical evidence this is the pattern anticipated by the spatial assimilation model and taken for granted by most researchers.

Yet we have seen that some groups' neigh- borhoods are predominantly suburban, and the suburban neighborhoods of a group may have higher concentrations of group mem- bers than do their city neighborhoods. In some cases, living in an ethnic neighborhood means living in a higher income area, com- pared with group members who live dis- persed in the same portion of the metropo- lis. Thus, the depressed central-city enclave is not the only form of immigrant ethnic settlement, and it is time to develop alterna- tive models to evaluate the exceptions. The ethnic community model provides a useful perspective of these divergent cases.

Analyses at the individual level show that indicators of acculturation are inversely as- sociated with residence in ethnic neighbor- hoods for almost all groups. In some cases, the ethnic neighborhood tends to be chosen by those for whom it serves their practical needs (as indicated by their socioeconomic position) for an inexpensive and congenial setting. And for several groups, the neigh- borhood may also link members to ethnic employment. These are the functions of immigrant enclaves. Eight groups in our study fit this model quite well.

In two cases, however, the results diverge in a consistent way from the expectations of the immigrant enclave model: Economic ad- vancement and participation in the main- stream labor force for Filipinos in New York and Los Angeles have no effects, or even the opposite of the expected effects. In these ways, Filipinos in New York and Los Ange- les fit the alternative model of ethnic com- munity. These Filipino neighborhoods have modest concentrations of group members (averaging less than 10 percent Filipino in New York, but reaching nearly 20 percent in Los Angeles). Yet in regions where Filipinos make up no more than 2 percent of the total population, we believe that such zones should not be ignored. Their significant spa- tial clustering, the fact that nearly one-third of a city's Filipinos live in these distinct ar- eas, and the significant differences between Filipinos who live in these areas versus those who live elsewhere confirm that they are meaningful areas.

We hypothesized that the immigrant en- clave model would be associated with groups of labor immigrants, while the ethnic community model would be associated with groups of entrepreneurs and professional im- migrants. The results mostly support this ex- pectation, although the stronger evidence weighs in on the side of the immigrant en- clave.

In designing this study, we set up a com- parison between New York, as a representa- tive of an older style of urban development, and Los Angeles, as a newer and more de- centralized form of development. We did find greater suburbanization of immigrant neighborhoods in Los Angeles. More impor- tant, suburban location emerges from these findings as a key contributor to the function of some ethnic neighborhoods as ethnic communities. Moving to the suburbs has previously been assumed to reduce the prob- ability of living in ethnic neighborhoods. But its effect is sometimes in the opposite direction. Most groups had, by 1990, estab- lished settlements in suburbia-settlements that sometimes outweighed their city neigh- borhoods. Although suburban ethnic districts often stand out for their large share of immi- grants and group members who speak their native languages, they always provide a higher status living context than do the eth- nic or nonethnic central-city neighborhoods in which group members live. As a result, suburban ethnic neighborhoods provide an

alternative destination for successful fami- lies, even for groups whose locational pat- tern generally corresponds well to the immi- grant enclave model.

We have discussed alternative models of the ethnic neighborhood assuming that each separate group we studied could be inter- preted, more or less, through the lens of one type of ethnic neighborhood. This is only a first approximation. Processes of assimila- tion and self-segregation operate on every group to varying degrees. If we compared different neighborhoods of a single ethnic group, we might discover that some neigh- borhoods are better understood as immigrant enclaves, others as ethnic communities, and still others as minority ghettos. The distinc- tion between urban and suburban ethnic neighborhoods partly illustrates this point. In any single neighborhood, whatever its over- all qualities, we might find that some resi- dents are trapped within it, others use it as a temporary base from which to rise, and oth- ers-those with the most choice-prefer it as a culturally agreeable environment. Such possibilities call for different research strat- egies than we have used here, especially for intensive comparative field studies and original surveys. We are near the limit of what can be accomplished through the analysis of publicly available census data.

The assimilation model is based on a con- ception of the ethnic neighborhood as a re- ception area for new arrivals and an entry point into the ethnic labor market. But the process in which both the neighborhood and the niche job are avoided or left behind by successful group members is not universal. The ethnic neighborhood for some groups is a springboard, but for others it is a destina- tion. This is not a time, if ever there were a time, for a one-pattern-fits-all theory of resi- dential location. The challenge now is to de- velop a theory of ethnic diversity, of contra- dictory processes of assimilation and sepa- ration, and of the conditions under which one or the other direction prevails.

John R. Logan is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Lewis Mumford Center for Com- parative Urban and Regional Research at the University at Albany, SUNY. His most recent ed- ited book is The New Chinese City: Globaliza- tion and Market Reform (Blackwell Publishers, 2001). He continues his research on residential segregation with the U.S. Census 2000, as well as his work on historical studies in New York and Chicago extending back to 1880.

Richard D. Alba is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at the University at Albany, SUNY. His latest book, Remaking the American Mainstream, written with Victor Nee, will be published next year by Harvard Univer- sity Press.

Wenquan Zhang is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociol- ogy at the University at Albany, SUNY. His dis- sertation deals with the secondary migration of recent immigrants in the United States as an in- dicator of spatial assimilation. His other research interests include spatial analysis using Geographic Information Systems.


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