Title page for ETD etd-03112011-110131

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Barranco, Raymond
URN etd-03112011-110131
Title Latinos, Immigration Policy, and Geographic Diversification: Examining the Effects of Concentrated Poverty, Segregation, and Low-skill Employment on Homicide
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Shihadeh, Edward S. Committee Chair
Bankston, William B. Committee Member
Blanchard, Troy C. Committee Member
Lee, Matthew R. Committee Member
Lim, Younghee Dean's Representative
  • Homicide
  • Latinos
  • Immigration
  • Segregation
  • Low-skill Jobs
Date of Defense 2011-02-21
Availability unrestricted
This study consists of three separate, yet interrelated analyses - all three examine the effects of Latino immigration. Since the mid-1980s, the pattern of settlement by Latino migrants has changed dramatically. These migrants are now settling in parts of the United States that have never before had significant Latino populations. This has led many to fear an increase in crime. Unfortunately, early explanations of immigration and crime focused on the experience of Eastern European immigrants. Therefore, it has not been clear whether the experience of Latino immigrants could be explained in the same way – especially with some researchers finding that immigrants now lower crime rates. However, most recent research on immigration has failed to analyze any of the new areas of settlement.

The first study examines immigration’s effect on Latino homicide victimization by grouping migrants according to their period of entry into the United States. Results show that immigration has no effect in traditional areas, while only recent immigrant arrivals have an effect in new destinations. Preliminary results from an additional analysis suggest this could be due to changing emigration patterns in Mexico. Since 1990, more Mexican migrants have been coming from states with high levels of violence.

The second study attempts to explain the effects of immigration on Latino homicide with various measures of segregation. Given the beneficial nature of ethnic enclaves, it is assumed that contact between Latinos will lower homicide victimization. Results support this hypothesis, showing that Latino-Latino contact has a greater effect on homicide than Latino-White contact. However, the effect of recent immigrants in new destinations cannot be explained away by any of the segregation measures. As noted in the first analysis, a possible explanation is the changing emigration patterns of Mexico.

The third and final analysis examines how Latino immigration affects black homicide rates through competition for low-skill employment. Results show that when Latinos gain ground in low-skill employment relative to blacks, black homicide victimization increases. However, the findings apply only to metropolitan and new destination areas. Further analysis reveals that among the low-skill industries, the strongest effects are for Manufacturing/Construction and Services.

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