Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America


Department of Geography


Analyses of immigrant settlement patterns typically rely on counts of foreign-born individuals by neighborhood, metropolitan area, state, or region. As an alternative, this study classifies immigrants and their descendents into household types to shift attention from individuals to relationships between individuals. The study uses pooled current population survey data to identify seven household types, six of which have various degrees of immigrant or second-generation presence. The research compares distributions of first- and second-generation immigrants with different types of households that include first- and second-generation immigrants. Our analysis shows that the geography of immigration based on households differs considerably from geographies based on individuals. The spatial distribution and concentration of the foreign-stock population provides one picture of immigrant geographies, whereas the patterns of concentration by several different household types opens up the chance to tell other stories. More pointedly, we emphasize that the unit of analysis shapes assimilation research results and implies that this analytical choice cannot be thought of as independent from the politics of immigration.



Original Citation

Ellis M, Wright R. Assimilation and differences between the settlement patterns of individual immigrants and immigrant households. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Oct 25;102(43):15325-30. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0507310102. Epub 2005 Oct 17. PMID: 16230636; PMCID: PMC1266123.