The Immigrant Niche

Roger Waldinger and Claudia Der-Martirosian

in Strangers at the Gates

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2001 | ISBN: 9780520230927
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520927711 | DOI:
The Immigrant Niche

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This chapter serves as a continuation of the analysis of the ethnic niche, but instead focuses on the immigrants. It shows that ethnic niches stand out as a characteristic of nearly every immigrant group in all five locales, with concentration persisting even as immigrant cohorts settle down. The chapter takes the discussion of niches in a new direction by looking into the noneconomic characteristics of ethnic niches, while emphasizing the cognitive skills that are required by niche jobs. It shows that although skill sorts immigrants into “good” and “bad” niches, ethnicity still works as a basic structuring factor. The chapter concludes that concentration, and not dispersion, is the way to economic mobility, and that the search for advancement takes a collective instead of an individual form.

Keywords: ethnic niche; immigrant group; immigrant cohort; noneconomic characteristics; cognitive skills; ethnicity; concentration; economic mobility; dispersion

Chapter.  15374 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Migration Studies

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