Location Choice of Asian Immigrants in the United States: Do Neighbor Effects Matter?

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Spatial consideration has been neglected in the migration literature. This paper fills the gap by evaluating location choices of Asian immigrants in the United States in a spatial framework. New Asian immigrants from China, India, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines are examined using the American Community Survey (ACS) 1-year Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) data for the years spanning 2006 to 2011. Current activity in the United States and national origin are used to divide the immigrants into subgroups for analysis. Neighbor states’ characteristics and spatial dependence (studied in spatial econometrics) are considered. No spatial dependence is detected, except for the Philippine immigrant group. Many immigrants consider not only a state’s characteristics but also its neighbor states’ characteristics. For some immigrant groups, neighbor states exert strong competing effects, while for other groups, neighbor states’ characteristics have complementary effects. In either case, to encourage or discourage certain immigration, state governments will need to consider not only their own conditions but also those of neighbor states, so that they can design and implement the most appropriate immigration policies.