Taken by Surprise: New Immigrants in the Rural United States1

Leif Jensen, Tse Chuan Yang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


That the United States (US) is a nation of immigrants is beyond question. The history of the country is marked by great waves of immigration, first from Northern and Western Europe, then Southern and Eastern Europe, and, since the mid-1960s, from Latin America, Asia and elsewhere in the global South. These successive waves have generated predictable concerns among previous arrivals about the social and economic impact of immigration, even as prevailing evidence points toward repeated patterns of successful labor market adaptation and incorporation into mainstream social institutions. For over a century, immigrants to the US have settled overwhelmingly in the country’s largest urban areas. While this remains true today, a new phenomenon has caught many by surprise. Evidence suggests immigrants are deconcentrating away from large urban centers into small cities and towns at their periphery, and into rural areas. Some new arrivals are bypassing traditional gateway cities altogether and moving directly to less urban locales. This rise in immigration to rural areas is occurring in all regions of the country and often in places that are unaccustomed to immigration and unprepared.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Migration and Rural Areas
Subtitle of host publicationCross-National Comparative Perspectives
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781317113959
ISBN (Print)9781315589466
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


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