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Surname-based ethnicity and ethnic segregation in the early twentieth century U.S

Dafeng Xu

Regional Science and Urban Economics, 2019, vol. 77, issue C, 1-19

Abstract: In this paper, I discuss a new measure of ethnicity in historical U.S. census data, and apply it in segregation studies. In the early twentieth century U.S., three major sending countries of Central and Eastern European immigrants—namely, Germany, Poland, and Russia—had high degrees of ethnic and cultural diversity. The population in all three countries comprised largely of a mixture of German, Polish, Russian, and Jewish ethnic groups. Consequently, there might be significant heterogeneity in ethnicity among U.S. immigrants born in the same home country. Focusing on the above three sending countries in the 1920 and 1930 U.S. census, I construct an ethnicity variable based essentially on the linguistic origin of the surname. Employing this variable, I examine ethnic segregation within each immigrant group defined based on the country of birth. Results suggest high degrees of within-group ethnic segregation. In particular, ethnic majorities within each group generally resided in areas with significantly more compatriots.

Keywords: Immigration; Name; Ethnicity; Segregation; Early twentieth century U.S (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.regsciurbeco.2019.01.005

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