Who Stays? Who Goes? Selective Emigration Among the Foreign-Born

Jennifer van Hook, Weiwei Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (SciVal)


We investigate the level and selectivity of emigration from the United States among foreign-born adults. We use the CPS Matching Method (Van Hook et al. 2006) to estimate the probability of emigration among foreign-born adults aged 18-34, 35-64 and 65+ from 1996 to 2009 (N = 92,852). The results suggest higher levels of emigration than used in the production of official population estimates. Also, indicators of economic integration (home ownership, school enrollment, poverty) and social ties in the U. S. (citizenship, having young children, longer duration in the United States) deter emigration. Conversely, having connections with the sending society, such as living apart from a spouse, was associated with emigration, particularly among Mexican men. Health was least strongly related to emigration. Simulations suggest that selective emigration may alter the home ownership and marital status, but not health, composition of immigrant cohorts. The implications for public policy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalPopulation Research and Policy Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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