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  #1  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2017, 10:28 PM
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If immigrants aren't richer than native-born, why costlier cities higher % immigrant

Immigrants according to statistics, in terms of averages, have less wealth or income than native-born Americans.

Yet expensive cities like NYC, the Bay Area etc. have double-digit percentages of immigrants (like one in three people or more are foreign born).

Are the foreign born individuals in these cities just the ones that happen to be richer? Or they are much more willing to sacrifice personal wealth, in order to live in a city that has the diverse amenities or ethnic communities they'd like, and make that trade off versus living in a lower cost area that don't have such communities.

Or are they much more thrifty with lifestyles to afford it (eg. they have cultural values that involve saving more, or immigrant families might be larger and more family members share a house)?
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  #2  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2017, 10:59 PM
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Immigrants are drawn to hubs because of greater economic opportunity and easier assimiliation. They're lower income than the native-born, but it's a temporary, usually single-generation, phenomenon.

Example- Asians in NYC have a higher poverty rate than African Americans or Hispanics in NYC. But NYC Asians are mostly first-generation immigrants, and their kids will go to top universities. Temporary poverty is very different from intergenerational poverty.

Stuyvesant, the best public high school in NYC, has a poverty rate pretty similar to the citywide public schools average. But it sends more kids to the Ivies than any other public school in the U.S. Stuyvesant is like 75% Asian.
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Old Posted Dec 8, 2017, 11:20 PM
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For starters, "expensive" is based on an assumption of square footage, cars, etc. If those assumptions don't apply then the affordability equation is different. Same with sharing residences with extended family in some cases.
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Old Posted Dec 8, 2017, 11:32 PM
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Well, aren't ethnic or minority neighborhoods in major cities interesting to visit but not usually major targets to live for millennials? I haven't heard of Chinatown in both San Francisco or New York being extremely gentrified. I haven't heard of residents in Flatbush in Brooklyn or Jamaica, Queens being priced out and those areas mostly filled with Black Caribbeans.

Even Little Havana in Miami, a relatively dense neighborhood close to downtown, hasn't really been utilized as an area for gentrification. It has some of the stuff millennials want (apartments, public transportation, walkable, etc) and can easily to built up to include more.

Old Little Havana Apartment Building 1925 by Phillip Pessar, on Flickr


Meditteranean Revival apartment building (1926), 1814-1818 SW 22nd Ave, Palm Grove, Miami, FL, USA by Steve Minor, on Flickr

Du-Rant Apartments Little Havana 1924 by Phillip Pessar, on Flickr

Belmont Apartments Little Havana 1926 by Phillip Pessar, on Flickr

Two Old Apartment Buildings Little Havana 1925 by Phillip Pessar, on Flickr

Former Fifth Avenue Apartment Building Little Havana Miami 1925 by Phillip Pessar, on Flickr
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Old Posted Dec 8, 2017, 11:40 PM
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Right, how is it that immigrant enclaves avoid being gentrified out of existence near the expensive parts of big inner cities?

Or it just a matter of time, that eventually they will?

I mean, I understand that there are thrifty things immigrants are willing to put up with such as sharing with extended families, taking public transit instead of driving etc. but first of all, the native-born poor could in theory also do this, and secondly, even if they do this, there's still some limit to how much you're willing to sacrifice just for the sake of living in one given place, if there are cheaper places elsewhere.
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2017, 12:09 AM
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Right, how is it that immigrant enclaves avoid being gentrified out of existence near the expensive parts of big inner cities?

Or it just a matter of time, that eventually they will?

I mean, I understand that there are thrifty things immigrants are willing to put up with such as sharing with extended families, taking public transit instead of driving etc. but first of all, the native-born poor could in theory also do this, and secondly, even if they do this, there's still some limit to how much you're willing to sacrifice just for the sake of living in one given place, if there are cheaper places elsewhere.
Don't know about other cities but in San Francisco certain ones are politically powerful and have managed to put in place zoning and other restrictions that preserve them as they have historically been. This ranges from the tourist mecca of Chinatown, where blocking gentrification has been win/win for both the low income Asian immigrants who live there and the city's tourist economy that dotes on the place. But another neighborhood, the Tenderloin, which used to be an area of flop houses for poor whites is morphining into "Little Saigon", home of southeast Asian immigrants (not just Vietnamese but also Cambodian, Thai etc) with the city's encouragement.

On the other hand, the city's former "Little Italy", North Beach, is becoming a Hollywood stage set of a Little Italy. Still lots of Italian coffee houses and restaurants, but far more white, native-born yuppies living there than immigrants from anywhere.

It should be noted that besides zoning, those seeking to preserve the past in these areas depend on rent control which keeps the areas affordable for immigrants who have lived there a long time.
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2017, 12:39 AM
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Correlation is not causation.
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  #8  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2017, 12:50 AM
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Right, how is it that immigrant enclaves avoid being gentrified out of existence near the expensive parts of big inner cities?
Rent control and tenant protections, mostly.

Chinatowns are being gentrified, BTW. Manhattan Chinatown is shrinking and has been gentrifying for decades.

It probably would't even exist if there weren't rent controls and strict anti-harrassment and anti-condo conversion laws, keeping below-markets tenants in-place for life, and allowing elderly to pass on apartments to the next generations.

I don't know the particulars of SF Chinatown, but I suspect it's much the same. The only reason it doesn't look like adjacent areas demographically is because the govt. does everything in its power to prevent this (kinda like Tenderloin).
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Or it just a matter of time, that eventually they will?
It will take a LONG time, but I suspect in 100 years Manhattan Chinatown will cease to exist. The fact that any tenant can pass their apartment down is a huge firewall against mass gentrification.

But the vast majority of the Chinese community is already in Brooklyn and Queens Chinatowns. Flushing is the newly dominant Chinatown and South Brooklyn is the fastest growing community and has like 5x the Chinese population of Manhattan Chinatown.
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2017, 4:00 AM
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In Miami's case Little Havana remains a cheap immigrant enclave literally next door to expensive Brickell do to zoning mostly, you can't build ritzy 50 high rises there. That and I-95 creates quite a barrier to westward growth of greater Downtown.
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2017, 6:54 AM
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Stuyvesant, the best public high school in NYC, has a poverty rate pretty similar to the citywide public schools average. But it sends more kids to the Ivies than any other public school in the U.S. Stuyvesant is like 75% Asian.
I suspect Stuyvesant was probably very Jewish until maybe 1990 or so, but their numbers have declined because 1) most of the young Jewish population in NYC is Orthodox and go to Jewish day schools, and 2.) secular Jews in NYC are pretty wealthy and often send their kids to (secular) private schools. The number of Jewish students in NYC public schools must be pretty small these days.
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2017, 6:54 AM
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To answer the OP: critical mass and the existence of major enclaves play a significant role.
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  #12  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2017, 10:56 AM
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Immigration is a money making exercise, which is why increasingly more and more countries are opening up their borders. Basically you get an adult that your own country hasn't had to pay for their birth, upbringing and education, and notably more middle class also (even the illegals or refugees, who are risking boats and trails across the deserts and seas, have to fork out $20-40K in capital per head to the smugglers- people who can't afford the trip stay in the impoverished country or the vast refugee camps). Those who can afford it will be better educated and staunchly upwardly mobile, who will not want to stay poor (though that may be harder to achieve than they first set out). They will also be less likely to have dependents with them than the locals- in other words the host country is getting its 'demographic dividend' without the costs or once-in-a-lifetime timing.

Normally a country has to wait for that perfect time, which may never arrive, when a large age bulge grows up quickly but with markedly less children, and at a stage when their parents aren't old enough to become dependents also. In the US this was the baby boomers of 1945-64, for Europeans it was Les Trentes Glorieuses 1945 -75, for the Japanese it was the Miracle Generation that made it the world's second largest economy by the 1960s. China's Rise generation (instigated by the one child policy) just ended 1980-2010, India's has just started that same year (where birthrates have plummeted to 2.4 per woman). The unsaid thing is of course this age bulge will in time translate to a dependent bulge when they retire, ageing the population dramatically as seen with Japan where robots are taking over. The other alternative is to keep the flow of dependent-free workers - the greatest success is of course the US, made on generations of immigrants. It's telling that the year Germany surpassed Japan to become the world's lowest birthrate, 2015, and the one in which, like a vast loan shark they made the Greek economy a de facto colony (who will be paying for their pensions after) was also the year they accepted a million young, middle class migrants from the refugee crises across the ME.

Where it can go wrong is if the new arrivals face barriers to their employment such as their illegal status or prejudice, or being housed in areas with very few opportunities. This leads to a rot in the system when even their kids will have to face the same travails despite not being foreign. But the richer cities tend to buck this trend due to the washing machine of money going round, places like London, NYC, Zurich, Stockholm, Melbourne, Sydney, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Brussels, Toronto, Singapore. Other cities though, sometimes second tier cities within the same country, may have more entrenched poverty that correlates to ethnicity (rather than foreignness), which is a sign of an adversely different climate.

Where I work in London we get a lot of schools visiting en masse. You'll very rarely see one predominant ethnicity for the classes from the south, no matter how posh or poor the school is (even the madrassas or Jewish schools are mixed), but from the Northern cities you'll see stark segregation, and ones that correlate with income.


-Also all this can go wrong regardless of your upwardly mobile, economically, demographically and culturally open society. The demographic age bulge in Latin America was squandered for the 'Lost Generation' by corruption, fascism and foreign control during the 70s-80s (so called from the 'death flights' of hundreds of missing opponents and young protesters, who were drugged and thrown from planes over the ocean in the last military regime in Argentina).

Last edited by muppet; Dec 10, 2017 at 5:36 AM.
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  #13  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2017, 4:04 PM
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I suspect Stuyvesant was probably very Jewish until maybe 1990 or so, but their numbers have declined because 1) most of the young Jewish population in NYC is Orthodox and go to Jewish day schools, and 2.) secular Jews in NYC are pretty wealthy and often send their kids to (secular) private schools. The number of Jewish students in NYC public schools must be pretty small these days.
Spot on. Stuy was majority Jewish from the 1930's to 1990 or so. The Jewish influx from the former Soviet Union kept the numbers up in the later years (and even today, most of the white kids are descended from former Soviet).

Nowadays, the Jewish population in NYC is growing again, but it's bifurcated into higher income Manhattan/Brownstone Brooklyn Jews (who attend private school or other, less math-science oriented magnet publics) or Orthodox, who attend Schuls. There are now over 100,000 NYC kids in Jewish day school (compared to public school population of 1.1-1.2 million).

If you meet an over 40 yr Stuy alum (or Bronx Science, or Brooklyn Tech, the other elite math-science schools), they're likely to be Jewish. If under 40, likely to be Asian. Still lots of white Jewish kids in magnet publics, but not in the math-science schools (they're in majority white progressive magnets like LaGuardia, Hunter, Beacon or Townsend Harris).
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2017, 7:47 PM
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Well, aren't ethnic or minority neighborhoods in major cities interesting to visit but not usually major targets to live for millennials? I haven't heard of Chinatown in both San Francisco or New York being extremely gentrified. I haven't heard of residents in Flatbush in Brooklyn or Jamaica, Queens being priced out and those areas mostly filled with Black Caribbeans.

Even Little Havana in Miami, a relatively dense neighborhood close to downtown, hasn't really been utilized as an area for gentrification. It has some of the stuff millennials want (apartments, public transportation, walkable, etc) and can easily to built up to include more.
Depends on the city. Mexican neighborhoods in Chicago have been prime targets for gentrification. Take a look at what's currently going on in Pilsen, a gateway neighborhood for Mexican immigrants.
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2017, 8:00 PM
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Oh, and Flatbush was mentioned. Flatbush is definitely being gentrified. The affluent white population is exploding and the black West Indian population is in relative decline. But Carribeans will probably still be the plurality for some time, given it's a solid homeowner area full of city workers.

I have a friend from work (white, late 30's, hipsterish) who just bought a Flatbush fixer-upper rowhouse for $1.2 million. He has a wife and three small kids.
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2017, 9:29 PM
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But another neighborhood, the Tenderloin, which used to be an area of flop houses for poor whites is morphining into "Little Saigon", home of southeast Asian immigrants (not just Vietnamese but also Cambodian, Thai etc) with the city's encouragement.
the TL also has a growing latino population, which includes a lot of immigrants from Mexico and central america (El Salvador, Honduras, etc), and now has almost as many Latino people as there are Asian people. It's a very diverse neighborhood.
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Old Posted Dec 10, 2017, 1:28 AM
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In Toronto, there is a fair sized Chinatown but it's importance to the overall Chinese community has declined. It is also not really a "pure" Chinatown like Manhattan's - it's very much interpersed with Kensington Market, U of T students etc.

The next closest in ethnic neighborhood would be Little Portugal I guess in the west end, but that's rapidly been taken over by hipsters and gentrifiers. Sitll a fair Portuguese/Brazilian presence though.

Most ethnic enclaves are further out.
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Old Posted Dec 10, 2017, 2:52 AM
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So, did many ethnic enclaves start off historically in cheap (and often undesirable) areas, and only later did the area gentrify around it, with the enclave still "holding out" due to critical mass and new immigrants willing to put up with the higher cost to live with their co-ethnics?

Or was it likely the case that many cities, and parts of cities with high % of immigrant were already costly and expensive when the communities started off, and that immigrants just were willing to put up with the high cost of living, once arriving, for the job prospects?
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Old Posted Dec 10, 2017, 5:46 AM
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London historically had a ring of poverty surrounding the centre, before the leafy suburbs took over. This ring is where many postwar immigrants were housed cheek by jowl with the traditional White working class. However this Inner City ring has now been gentrified en masse and the poor pushed out into the middle class suburbs or beyond (and turned middle class having turned a substantial profit with the sale of their properties). The people losing out are the middle classes, who are trying to survive in the Inner City through subdividing, sharing these smaller properties and working two jobs.

The city is undergoing White flight, Black flight and South Asian flight - but this doesn't mean it's getting less diverse, as those replacing them are just as diverse - the cream of the world's elite from China through to Nigeria is buying up these gentrified hoods and the diversity index is still growing each year. It's a cyclical system, the children of those who left will of course likely return after education, seeking bright lights and big city, starting the whole cycle off again. Needless to say although ethnic neigbourhoods remain as shopping areas for that community, residentially the city is evenly mixed, and by class also.
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Old Posted Dec 10, 2017, 6:12 AM
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London historically had a ring of poverty surrounding the centre, before the leafy suburbs took over. This ring is where many postwar immigrants were housed cheek by jowl with the traditional White working class. However this Inner City ring has now been gentrified en masse and the poor pushed out into the middle class suburbs or beyond (and turned middle class having turned a substantial profit with the sale of their properties). The people losing out are the middle classes, who are trying to survive in the Inner City through subdividing, sharing these smaller properties and working two jobs.

The city is undergoing White flight, Black flight and South Asian flight - but this doesn't mean it's getting less diverse, as those replacing them are just as diverse - the cream of the world's elite from China through to Nigeria is buying up these gentrified hoods and the diversity index is still growing each year. It's a cyclical system, the children of those who left will of course likely return after education, seeking bright lights and big city, starting the whole cycle off again. Needless to say although ethnic neigbourhoods remain as shopping areas for that community, residentially the city is evenly mixed, and by class also.
London seems different from North American cities in terms of how strong racial segregation appears relative to class segregation.

It seems like over there class and immigration history is relatively speaking a stronger force for segregation than race in and of itself -- so, working class whites and working class blacks have more in common and share neighborhoods way more than rich immigrant whites and blacks. In the US, you don't really see this much at all.
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