Racial Differences in the Tempo of Assimilation for White and Black African Foreign-Born to the United States

Stephanie J. Nawyn, Michigan State University

Understanding how immigrants assimilate to the U.S. labor market is important, but measuring the true effect of time in assimilation is difficult. We know extremely little about the effects of time in assimilation on African, an immigrant group that has only just begun to enter the U.S. in large numbers. In this paper, I examine the effect of duration on African immigrant men’s earnings between 1990 and 2000. I use Public Use Microdata Sample 5% and 1% sample data from the 1990 and 2000 Censuses, applying a double-cohort method of analysis (Myer and Lee 1996) that avoids problems presented by trying to measure age-period-cohort effects. Additionally, I examine the differential tempo of assimilation for black and white African immigrant men. I find that while white African-born men’s earnings surpass those of white native-born men over time, black African-born men continue to experience a disadvantage in earnings that cannot be explained by human capital characteristics.

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Presented in Session 93: Assimilation and Social Mobility