09-30 Spatial Mismatch and Transit Choice among Immigrants

Project Number


Project Summary

Spatial Mismatch and Transit Choice among Immigrants

Project Status




Topic Area

Urban Mobility

P.I. Name & Address

Director, Graduate Programs in Public Policy; Director of Research, Lusk Center for Real Estate, USC Price School of Public Policy
University of Southern California
650 Childs Way
Ralph and Goldy Lewis Hall (RGL) 214
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626
United States

Project Objective:

While there have been numerous tests of the spatial mismatch hypothesis among racial minorities, only recently has research (Aponte 1996; Pastor and Marcelli 2000; Preston et al 1998; Parks 2004a, 2004b; Painter et al, 2008, Liu, 2008) began to consider tests of the implications of the spatial mismatch hypothesis among immigrants. At present, the results for immigrants are mixed, and show a lot of heterogeneity with respect to country of origin, time in the United States, and status as a first or second generation immigrant. At the same time, the literature on the transit choices of immigrants (Myers, 1996; Blumenberg and Shiki, 2007) is much more sparse than the literature on transit mode choice overall.

This study proposes to analyze the role of transit mode choice and residential location on the job market outcomes of immigrants. Building upon the work of Ong and Miller (2005), who study the role of transit choice on spatial mismatch among minority groups, and on the work of Painter et al (2008) and Liu (2008), who study the role of spatial mismatch among immigrants, this study will estimate how transit mode choice interacts with spatial mismatch across several metropolitan areas. The proposed study will analyze these interactions in two gateway metropolitan areas (Los Angeles and Chicago) and four emerging immigrant gateways (Washington, DC, Atlanta, Seattle, and Denver) to discover if living in immigrant enclaves across different parts of a metropolitan area (central city, inner ring suburbs, and outer ring suburbs) differentially affect immigrants in areas with more or less established immigrant populations and in places with different transportation infrastructures.

Task Descriptions
There are three primary tasks: data collection, data analysis, and the writing up of the results. While I have already collected the data for Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, DC, I will need to download the data from the IPUMS website for Atlanta, Seattle, and Denver. In addition, I need to collect the information on auto insurance premiums in each metropolitan area. Data collection will begin in August 2008 and continue through the Fall Semester. The analysis of the data will be conducted in the Spring Semester 2009, and the write-up of the paper will be completed in the Summer 2009.

Milestones, Dates:
August 15, 2008 – September 14, 2009

Total Budget:

Student Involvement:
One graduate student at 25% effort, 12 months

Relationship to Other Research Projects:
Related to 07-17; part of the mobility focus area

Technology Transfer Activities:
Project report will be posted soon

Potential Benefits of the Project:
This study will provide a greater understanding of immigrants transit mode choice and residential location and their effects on job market outcomes for these individuals.

TRB Keywords:
Spatial mismatch, transit, immigrant, gateway