Since the 1990s, many rural communities in the Southern US have experienced an unprecedented influx of Latino migrants. Some research undertaken on such “new Hispanic destinations” suggests that the newcomers tend to assume low-status jobs shunned by non-Hispanic residents and thus form a segmented labor market, but other work indicates that they heavily compete with natives (particularly African Americans) for less-skilled positions. Drawing on data from the 2000 census and 2009–2011 American Community Survey, this paper examines patterns of occupational stratification between Latino, white, and black men in the rural South to identify whether Hispanic economic relations in the area are better characterized by segmentation or competition. Specifically, occupational dissimilarity indexes and status scores are calculated to map the groups’ relative economic positions in the rural portions of five Southeastern states home to fast-growing nonmetro Latino populations: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Consistent with the segmentation hypothesis, the results reveal that Latinos are highly occupationally dissimilar from non-Hispanic whites and blacks and rank significantly below both in mean occupational status. Standardization of the stratification measures shows that Hispanics’ labor market isolation and disadvantage can be substantially accounted for by their lower average levels of human capital and US citizenship.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 14, 2014
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