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Journal Article

Cumulative Causation, Coethnic Settlement Maturity and Mexican Immigration to U.S. Metropolitan Areas, 1995-2000

James D. Bachmeier
Social Forces
Vol. 91, No. 4 (June 2013), pp. 1293-1317
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43287501
Page Count: 25
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Cumulative Causation, Coethnic Settlement Maturity and Mexican Immigration to U.S. Metropolitan Areas, 1995-2000
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Abstract

This article applies the tenets of Massey's (1999) cumulative causation theory of migration to explain variation in aggregate patterns of Mexican migration to U.S. metropolitan destinations during the late 1990s. Analogous to sending contexts, results suggest that the dynamics of migration vary substantially with the maturity of the Mexican settlement community within destinations (approximated here using characteristics of the resident Mexican-origin population and distance from the Mexican border). The rate of immigration between 1995 and 2000 was determined overwhelmingly by the rate a decade earlier, but the extent to which this was the case depended significantly on the level of destination settlement maturity. The immigration rate into newly emerging destinations was governed to a greater extent by pull factors in the local labor and housing market (e.g., unemployment and cost of living) than in more established destinations where the rate of immigration varied largely independently of such factors. Settlement maturity played a more direct role in explaining variation in the demographic composition of new immigration flows, and was inversely related to the percentage of adult inflows comprising unaccompanied males. The results are consistent with the hypothesis recently advanced by Light (2006), asserting that migratory shifts away from traditional destinations beginning in the late 1990s were driven, at least in part, by saturation of labor and housing markets resulting from network-driven migration. Implications of the findings for related avenues of research are discussed.

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