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A Double Disadvantage? Minority Group, Immigrant Status, and Underemployment in the United States

Gordon F. De Jong and Anna B. Madamba
Social Science Quarterly
Vol. 82, No. 1 (MARCH 2001), pp. 117-130
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42955706
Page Count: 14
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A Double Disadvantage? Minority Group, Immigrant Status, and Underemployment in the United States
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Abstract

Objective. This study documents the magnitude of four types of underemploy ment experienced by both native-born minority and ethnic immigrant male and female workers in the United States and tests a "double disadvantage" economic outcome hypothesis that minority workers tend to be channeled into secondarysector jobs and that immigrant workers face initial disadvantages in labor force assimilation. Method. Data for men and women aged 25—64 who are in the labor force and not attending school were derived from the 1990 Census Bureau Public Use Microdata Sample. Multinomial logistic regression procedures were used to estimate the effect of minority group membership and immigrant status on the odds of unemployment, part-time employment, working poverty, and job mismatch, relative to adequate employment. Results. Descriptive results showed greater overall underemployment among females than males. Blacks and Hispanics had higher unemployment and working-poverty rates compared to non-Hispanic whites and Asians, with job mismatch highest among Asians. Immigrant underemployment was greater than that of the native-born. Asians posted the largest disparity in immigrant versus native-born underemployment, and blacks had the smallest. Multivariate models showed that minority group effects were stronger than immigrant status effects in predicting underemployment. Increased likelihood of underemployment across the different minority groups versus non-Hispanic white workers was not fully accounted for by the expected influences of human-capital, demographic, industry, and occupational variables. Conclusion. The double disadvantage hypothesis of minority group and immigrant status is accepted only for Asian men and women with jobs mismatched to their skills and for Asian women, who are most likely to be unemployed or be among the working poor.

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