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Leighann Kimber ’10:New Immigrant Settlement Patterns in Syracuse, NY: An Assessment of the Model of Heterolocalism

By Upstate Institute on July 1, 2010

Submitted to the Department of Geography for Honors

The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act profoundly altered the typical demographic characteristics of immigrants entering the United States. With an increasing overall skill level among immigrants entering since 1965, the settlement patterns of immigrants have begun to diverge from the urban ethnic enclave which is reminiscent of pre-1965 eras of immigration.

Several scholars have attempted to explain changing settlement patterns by conceptualizing new models for immigrant settlement. This study assesses the validity of one of these models—Zelinsky’s model of heterolocalism—using the foreign-born population of Syracuse, New York as a case study. The model of heterolocalism is characterized by (1) immediate immigrant dispersal throughout a geographic area and (2) distance between the residences of immigrants and the ethnic institutions they rely on to maintain a sense of cultural identity. I use the dissimilarity index of segregation as well as GIS analysis to analyze the extent to which the settlement patterns of immigrants in Syracuse reflect the model of heterolocalism as presented by Zelinsky.

The results of this study support emergence of the heterolocal model among immigrants in Syracuse. The results also reveal an unanticipated bimodal settlement pattern which opens the door for further research on the new immigrant experience in the wake of 1965 policy reform.

Download the paper to learn more.

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