TABLE 2.10 Intended Destination of Legal Immigrants Entering the United States, 1974, 1984, and 1994 (percentage)

 

Destination

Actual Census Population

State

1974

1984

1994

1990

California

21

26

26

12

New York

20

20

18

7

Texas

5

8

7

7

Florida

7

6

7

5

New Jersey

7

5

5

3

Illinois

6

5

5

5

Other states

34

30

32

61

Note: Total number of immigrants by year: 1974 = 394,861; 1984 = 543,903; 1994 = 804,416.

Source: U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (1975; 1985; 1996); U.S. Bureau of the Census (1993).

perse more widely.28 Most immigrants live in a handful of states and in less than a dozen major metropolitan areas. This extreme geographic concentration implies that any state or local fiscal effects of immigration will likewise be concentrated in a relatively few communities. Similarly, labor market effects of immigration may also be more pronounced in the places where most immigrants live.

In 1990, 76 percent of immigrants arriving in the United States in the 1980s resided in only six states: California, New York, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, and Illinois (in descending rank order of the numbers of recent immigrants in the state in 1990—see Table 2.10). California and New York alone account for over 40 percent of new immigrants. Figures 2.12 and 2.13 show the state of residence for newly arriving legal and illegal immigrants in 1994. By and large, recent immigrants are going to the same places that immigrants went to 10 and 20 years ago—the majority to those same six states.

28  

The regional concentration of current immigrants seems to be similar to that at the turn of the century, with slightly more than three-fourths of immigrants going to the top 10 destination states. The current state destinations for immigrants differ from 1900, however: California was not a top 10 state for immigrants in 1900, but it now receives the largest number of new entrants.

We lack up-to-date information on the dispersion of immigrants and their offspring because the 1980 and 1990 censuses did not collect information on the nativity of parents. Previous census analysis (Lieberson and Waters, 1988) on ancestry reveals that European ethnic groups continued to be regionally concentrated. The residential concentration is often modest, however, within metropolitan areas. There are few American cities with large, concentrated European immigrant settlements so characteristic of the turn of the century.



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