21 Feb

Geographical Review Preview: Residential Settlement Patterns Among Immigrants In Atlanta Metropolitan Area, Georgia

By: Arwa Altaher, Joyce Clapp, and Selima Sultana

Article:  Residential Settlement Patterns Among Immigrants In Atlanta Metropolitan Area, Georgia Geographical Review 109.2

What is the main purpose of your study?

The purpose of this study was to look at how immigrant groups are residentially distributed in the greater Atlanta area.  The distribution of foreign-born residents of Atlanta by country and region of origin is described. Finally, this study also looked at how social variables, such as language spoken and local job markets, correlated with the distribution of immigrant groups.

What are the practical, day to day, implications of your study?

Atlanta is a vibrant metropolitan area with residents from all over the world.  While there is residential segregation in Atlanta, there is also mixing of some foreign-born populations, especially those from Asian or Latin American countries.  Factors such as highway access, employment opportunities, and whether an area is urban, suburban, or rural may affect where immigrants live in Atlanta and new destination cities like Atlanta.  



How does your study relate to other work on the subject?

This study confirms the findings of Frey (2018) and others who have done recent work on “new wave” immigration.  Immigrants are no longer confined to traditional destination cities such as large coastal cities or midwestern urban areas such as Chicago.  Immigrants are no longer confined to the central city but may live in rural and suburban areas to ease access to employment opportunities and co-ethnic social networks.  Where immigrants live and how they’re distributed across metropolitan areas is changing and has changed, findings our study affirms.


What are two or three interesting findings that come from your study?

This study informs us immigrants live in all parts of the greater Atlanta metropolitan area instead of just in the central city, as stereotypes might contend.  While majority foreign-born populations live within urbanized area, areas with no or low foreign-born populations were in the outskirts or in more rural areas of the metropolitan area or in some of the most expensive census tracts of northern part of Fulton county.  Finally, we found that Spanish speaking in an area correlated with higher Southeast Asian populations, continuing to confirm that there is residential mixing among some foreign-born populations in Atlanta.


What might be some of the theoretical implications of this study?

The study agrees that ethnoburbs are becoming of greater theoretical and practical importance in immigrant studies.  This study also agrees that a split labor market exists for immigrants.  Finally, this article contributes to the field of thought that there is no one monolithic immigrant experience, as shown through the differential settlement patterns discussed throughout the study.


How does your research help us think about Geography?

Where we live is a deeply spatial issue, reflecting local factors such as the location of co-ethnic communities (with familiar grocery stores, places of worship, and so on, at hand).  This study encourages us to remember that where we live is deeply connected to our spatial context – the nature of the space we live – and opens the door for mixed methods studies that would engage this spatial context in further detail.


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Click here to read the abstract of this article on the Wiley Online Library.