Caught in the housing bubble: Immigrants' housing outcomes in traditional gateways and newly emerging destinations

  • Authors: Gary Painter, Zhou Yu
  • Date: October 10, 2012
Research has documented that immigrants have moved in large numbers to almost every metropolitan area and select rural areas in the country (e.g., Lichter and Johnson 2009; Painter and Yu 2010). In the midst of these demographic shifts, the country has experienced a profound recession. To date, there has been little research on the impact of the recession on immigrants across the country. Using the 2006 and 2009 American Community Survey microdata, we assess how the recent economic crisis has affected immigrants with respect to three housing outcomes (residential mobility, homeownership, and household formation) to compare housing outcomes at two important time points in the recent economic cycle. The results suggest the early impact of the recession has not been as severe on immigrants as one might expect. In particular, the places where immigrant populations are newest have not experienced reductions in homeownership as those in the large immigrant gateways. Even in the established gateways, the decline in homeownership has been smaller for immigrants than for native-born households. Regression results suggest that the negative impacts from the recession are strongest in the gateway metropolitan areas, and that after controlling for residence in the hardest hit areas, changes in unemployment rates and increases in metropolitan level default rates have a negative impact on homeownership rates.

Immigrants Equilibriate Local Markets: Evidence from the Great Recession

  • Authors: Brian C. Cadena, Brian K. Kovak
  • Date: July 7, 2013
This paper demonstrates that low-skilled Mexican-born immigrants' location choices in the U.S. respond strongly to changes in local labor demand, and that this geographic elasticity helps equalize spatial di fferences in labor market outcomes for low-skilled native workers, who are much less responsive. We leverage the wage rigidity that occurred during Great Recession to identify the severity of local downturns, and our results confi rm the standard fi nding that high-skilled populations are quite geographically responsive to employment opportunities while low-skilled populations are much less so. However, low-skilled immigrants, primarily those from Mexico, respond even more strongly than high-skilled native-born workers. These results are robust to a wide variety of controls, a pre-recession falsi cation test, and two instrumental variables strategies. A novel empirical test reveals that natives living in cities with a substantial Mexican-born population are insulated from the e ffects of local labor demand shocks compared to those in cities with few Mexicans. The reallocation of the Mexican-born workforce among these cities reduced the incidence of local demand shocks on low-skilled natives' employment outcomes by more than 40 percent.