Mumford Center Sheds New Light on Immigrant Enclaves in Metropolitan Areas, 1990-2000

Contact: Mary Fiess, (518) 437-4983

The University at Albany's Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research today released its latest analyses of census data that offer new, significantly higher population estimates of specific Hispanic groups and provide new information on the residential patterns of racial and ethnic minorities in metropolitan areas.

The report, entitled "Immigrant Enclaves in the American Metropolis, 1990-2000" and available at: (click on "Reports"), contains the latest findings by the Mumford Center, which has been interpreting segregation patterns and tracking other trends as Census 2000 data is released.

"Census data providing information on specific Hispanic and Asian nationality groups (such as Chinese and Asian Indians, Mexicans and Dominicans) show that almost all of these groups are more segregated from the white majority than is implied by information on Hispanic or Asian totals," said University at Albany Distinguished Professor of Sociology John Logan, director of the Mumford Center. "Each group has its own distinctive residential pattern, and this suggests that their separate group identities remain strong in their American setting."

The Census Bureau's report of the size of specific Hispanic nationalities has been, said Logan, "clouded by concerns that its data gathering methodology seriously undercounted groups such as Dominicans and Colombians."

The Mumford Center developed new estimates for these groups, and these adjusted figures "are much closer to estimates previously made by local officials and demographers," he said. In developing its estimates, the Mumford Center used March 2000 Current Population Survey data and other publicly available data.

Census 2000 reported 407,473 Dominicans in New York City but the Mumford Center estimates the number is close to 600,000, about 50 percent higher than the census figure and representing a growth of 75 percent in the last decade. In New York City, Census 2000 reported 240,000 South Americans and 100,000 Central Americans; the Mumford Center estimates 350,000 South Americans and 150,000 Central Americans, both figures again approximately 50 percent higher than census figures.

Using its adjusted counts, the Mumford Center conducted new analyses of residential segregation for all metropolitan areas for which data have been made available.

"Both categories, Asian and Hispanic, have remained about equally segregated from whites over the last decade - Hispanics considerably more segregated than Asians," the report says. "But looking at specific national origin groups yields two findings:

1. Most groups taken individually are more segregated from whites than is their broad racial/ethnic category as a whole. Chinese, Indians, and Koreans are as much as ten points more segregated, taken as individual Asian groups, than is the Asian category taken as a whole. Dominicans, at the extreme, are 20 points more segregated than Hispanics generally, reaching levels that would be considered unusually high even for black-white segregation. This means that we should be cautious about our use of the aggregate categories in evaluating relative levels of segregation. Differences between the African American situation and that of Dominicans and Salvadorans, and even Chinese or Indians, are not as great as would be imagined from figures about Asians and Hispanics.

In fact, there are important social differences among these national origin groups, revealed in residential segregation among them. Not shown in these tables, the level of segregation among most Asian groups is in the moderate range of .40-.55, with somewhat greater segregation (despite their common language) among Hispanic groups.

2. However, segregation of many groups has dropped in the last ten years, another trend that is hidden from view if we rely only on indices for aggregate categories. Segregation of all the major Asian national origin groups from whites declined by 5 points or more (by nearly 20 points for Filipinos, who are now much less segregated than other Asians). There was almost no change for Dominicans and Mexicans, but Puerto Rican and Salvadoran segregation - while still high - dropped by 5-8 points.

"These early results suggest that some real progress is being made in residential assimilation of many immigrant groups."

The complete report, including detailed statistical analyses, is available at the Mumford Center's website: Professor Logan's phone number is: (518) 442-4656.


July 5, 2001

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