Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Report
Title Accounting for Regional Migration Patterns and Homeownership Disparities in the Hmong-American Refugee Community, 1980-2000
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2006
URL http://www.qqq-zzz.com/system/files/homeownership_disparities.pdf
Hmong refugees began arriving in significant numbers in the United States in
the late 1970s. Compared to typical immigrants, Hmong-Americans came with few
financial, labor market, or co-ethnic support factors in favor of their economic success in
the United States. Focusing on homeownership as an indicator of economic assimilation,
we show that indeed the overall Hmong-American homeownership rate was initially very
low but had converged, by 2000, to a level typical for U.S. immigrants of equivalent time
in country. Over the same period, however, wide regional gaps in Hmong-American
homeownership emerged. By 2000, most of these gaps had also disappeared, except that
Hmong-American homeownership rates in the metropolitan areas of the Central Valley of
California remained very low. We present evidence that selective migration patterns
related to state differences in public assistance policies were important in the emergence
of regional homeownership differences in the 1980s, and that changes in these policies
were among the factors that closed most of the gaps in the 1990s. Then, taking location
in 2000 as given, we adapt the method of Coulson (2002) to statistically account for the
gap between the Hmong-American homeownership rate in the Central Valley and
elsewhere. Using probit regressions on data for individual Hmong-American household
from the 2000 Public Use Microsample (PUMS) from the U.S. Census, we find that both
personal traits of the household head (age, English ability, and residential locational
stability) and household financial variables (total income, public assistance income, and
the relative cost of owning versus renting) significantly affect the odds that a given
Hmong household owns its residence. Nonetheless, we find that the Central Valley’s
persistent lag in Hmong-American homeownership is mostly accounted for by regional
differences in the financial variables and hardly at all by regional differences in the
Hmong-American personal traits we measure. A caveat to this conclusion is that one of
our financial variables, public assistance income, may proxy for unmeasured regional
differences in personal attributes.

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