Does Place Matter? Metropolitan Area Differences in the Wages and Gains to Human Capital for Male Hispanic Immigrants in the U.S.
Nelson, Kyle Anne
Kahn, Joan R
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The unprecedented movement of Hispanic immigrants to new growth areas raises important questions about the opportunity for immigrants to succeed in labor markets that have little history of incorporating immigrants. I analyze Census 2000 data to compare wages of male Hispanic immigrants across 28 metropolitan areas grouped into "immigrant gateway types" derived from Singer (2004). I examine the role of human capital factors and metropolitan area characteristics in shaping the wage profiles of male Hispanic immigrants. Workers in the sample earn higher wages and gain more from human capital investments in traditional gateway areas than in newer growth areas with more service sector jobs and less historical presence of Hispanics. Human capital and immigrant-specific characteristics explain much of the wage advantage for male Hispanic immigrants in the traditional gateway areas; however, metropolitan area characteristics benefit workers in newer growth areas, pointing to booms in new economy sectors in these areas.