Black Immigrants to the United States: A Comparison with Native Blacks and Other Immigrants


Immigrant blacks have largely been ignored, both in discussions about
racial discrimination and about the assimilation of immigrants. In analyzing
immigrant blacks, Sowell (1978) claims to have evidence that it is not
discrimination that is responsible for the poor labor market success of native
blacks, but rather their "cultural traditions." Using the 1980 Census, I find
that while immigrant blacks are more likely to be employed, their wages are not
different conditional on employment. To the extent that there are differences,
further investigation reveals that it is the selection processes associated with
migration, and not cultural traditions which account for the differences between
natives and immigrants. Finally, I find that black immigrants do not have similar
"assimilation" patterns to white immigrants, and there is evidence that there has
been a recent decline in the quality of the immigrant cohorts.

Year of Publication
Date Published
Publication Language
Citation Key
Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 47, No. 2, January 1994
Working Papers