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Cityscape: Volume 11 Number 3 | Chapter 5



Volume 11 Number 3

Immigrants’ Housing Search and Neighborhood Conditions: A Comparative Analysis of Housing Choice Voucher Holders

Victoria Basolo
Mai Thi Nguyen

As with the articles in this issue, this introduction reflects the views of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Immigrants and their residential outcomes are of great interest to urban researchers and policymakers. The literature, however, provides little knowledge about the residential status of immigrants with publicly subsidized housing assistance. In this article, we draw on three streams of literature—assimilation, neighborhood effects, and housing policy—to investigate the residential choices and outcomes (neighborhood conditions) of immigrants who receive housing choice vouchers. We use primary survey data from a sample of voucher households from two local housing authorities in Orange County, California, to investigate housing search behavior, locational choice, and neighborhood conditions. The results of our regression analyses show that immigrants, compared with nonimmigrants, are more likely to receive assistance from friends or family in their housing search and that they tend to live in neighborhoods with relatively higher concentrations of immigrants overall. Immigrant status is not directly associated with worse neighborhood conditions; however, higher concentrations of immigrants are strongly associated with relatively worse neighborhood conditions. This finding indicates an indirect association between immigrant status and neighborhood conditions. We conclude with a discussion of the research and policy implications of these findings.

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