Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Urban and Public Affairs

Degree Program

Urban and Public Affairs, PhD

Committee Chair

Ruther, Matthew

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Goetzke, Frank

Committee Member

Goetzke, Frank

Committee Member

Zhang, Sumei

Committee Member

Zhang, Charlie

Committee Member

Carini, Robert

Author's Keywords

immigration; housing market; migration; spatial analysis


This dissertation concerns residential incorporation and the socioeconomic impact of immigrants primarily from Latin America and Asia with their rapid geographical dispersal in the U.S. I adopt econometrics methodologies and GIS techniques to examine how immigration affects housing price changes and white out-mobility in established and new destinations, utilizing datasets from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). The first part examines the effects of immigration into the U.S. established and new immigrant destinations on housing prices using county-level data that span 2011 to 2017. Using the global and local Moran’s I statistics, I demonstrate how housing prices are spatially clustered across counties, and then model the housing price in a spatial econometrics context with an instrumental spatial Durbin model. This approach helps exploit and capture both the direct and indirect effects of foreign-born (im)migration on housing prices. Findings show that foreign-born concentration is associated with housing price appreciation in established destinations, but that effect is primarily constituted by spatial spillover. Housing prices in new destinations do not respond to immigration. Findings call for attention on the processes, not just the outcomes, of the immigrant residential attainment. Scholars have continued to debate the extent to which the urbanicity of the neighborhood shapes the relationship between immigrant concentration and white out-migration, and to which white out-migration is a result of racial prejudice or socioeconomic concern. In the second part, I combine data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics with census data from 2011 to 2017 to examine the effects of immigrant concentration on migratory decisions of white householders. I find that the likelihood of out-mobility for white householders is positively associated with the proportion of immigrants in suburban neighborhoods. Consistent with theoretical arguments of a white flight hypothesis, the “class”/socioeconomic status (SES) of the neighborhood does not have a buffering effect on whites’ out-mobility with respect to immigrants. These findings illustrate the immigrant suburbanization is not the endpoint of residential integration, but exposes new challenges confronting immigrants about their racial status. The third part examines how changes in foreign-born populations are associated with home values and native flight in Louisville, the largest city in Kentucky. In particular, I use spatial autoregressive models (SAR) to explore the spillover effects of foreign-born populations beyond neighborhood boundaries and utilize geographically weighted regression (GWR) to tackle spatial heterogeneity that is complicating the immigrant/neighborhood relationship. Findings show an insignificant role of immigrant growth in shaping median home values of Louisville, while increasing proportions of immigrants are positively associated with out-migration of non-Hispanic whites. I also show how those relationships vary across space: the foreign-born population is a salient predictor in white flight in affluent northeastern suburban neighborhoods, compared to less privileged southern suburbs. These findings shed light on heterogeneous local responses within the metropolitan area when confronting immigrant suburbanization.