Colgate University Libraries


Colleen Tubridy


This paper employs IPUMS United States Census data to study the occupational distribution of immigrants between 1850 and 2000. Examining occupational diversity is crucial to understanding how immigrants adjust to a host economy and affect growth. I use occupations as a way of measuring assimilation. I analyze whether or not the spread of immigrants across occupations looks like the spread of natives over time. To do this, I create a unique measure of diversity based on the fractionalization index. I construct occupational diversity indices for each immigrant group and decade. Results from a case study examination indicate that relative occupational diversity has increased over time as immigrants have a greater ability to enter a wide array of occupations. I use empirical models to show that a positive relationship exists between relative occupational diversity and the immigrant to native ratio.