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The Ethnic Segregation of Immigrants in the United States from 1850 to 1940

Katherine Eriksson, Zachary A. Ward

NBER Working Paper No. 24764
Issued in June 2018
NBER Program(s):The Program on the Development of the American Economy, The Labor Studies Program

We provide the first estimates of ethnic segregation between 1850 and 1940 that cover the entire United States and are consistent across time and space. To do so, we adapt the Logan-Parman method to immigrants by measuring segregation based on the nativity of the next-door neighbor. In addition to providing a consistent measure of segregation, we also document new patterns such as the high levels of segregation in rural areas, in small factory towns and for non-European sources. Early 20th century immigrants spatially assimilated at a slow rate, leaving immigrants’ lived experience distinct from natives for decades after arrival.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24764

 
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