Sunday, July 23, 2006

According to the "foot vote," European immigrants say that New England is the best place to live in America: A reader brought up the question of desirable living places, as indicated by migration. While I cannot answer his specific questions (at least for now) I can look at the GSS to see where immigrants to the U.S. from wealthy European countries choose to live. The GSS only allows us to look at 9 regional divisions of the country, so I identified regions which had more European immigrants than would be predicted by total immigration patterns. Below I've listed the 9 divisions and the groups overrepresented there (and those in parentheses are underrepresented):

New England
French Canadians
Irish
Italians


Middle Atlantic
Italians
(English)
(French)
(Germans)

East North Central
Austrians
Dutch

West North Central
Germans

South Atlantic
English

East South Central
none

West South Central
Germans

Mountain
English
Scots

Pacific
(Italians)
(Austrians)
(French Canadians)

A couple of points: First, it looks like there is a tendency for immigrants from wealthy European countries to go regions where there are concentrations of their co-ethnics. We know that much immigration is family-based. Second, these immigrants are gravitating to whiter regions. New England is the whitest division, and it has 3 overrepresented immigrant groups and no underrepresented ones. East North Central and Mountain regions have 2 pluses and no minuses. The increasingly non-white Pacific region has 3 underrepresented groups. So judging by European immigration, New England is the most desirable place to live in America.

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