Immigration and the pursuit of amenities

David Albouy, Heepyung Cho, Mariya Shappo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Immigrants to the United States live disproportionately in metropolitan areas where nominal wages are high, but real wages are low. This sorting behavior may be due to preferences toward certain quality-of-life amenities. Relative to U.S.-born inter-state migrants, immigrants accept lower real wages to locate in cities that are coastal, larger, and offer deeper immigrant networks. They sort toward cities that are hillier and also larger and networked. Immigrants come more from coastal, cloudy, and safer countries—conditional on income and distance. They choose cities that resemble their origin in terms of winter temperature, safety, and coastal proximity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-29
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Regional Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • amenities
  • environmental equity
  • geographic labor mobility
  • household sorting
  • immigration
  • local labor markets
  • quality of life
  • social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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