Introduction: This study examines demographic and socioeconomic factors of racial/ethnic groups in New York City between 1980 and 2009 – particularly the Latino population.
Methods: Data on Latinos and other racial/ethnic groups were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, reorganized for public use by the Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota, IPUMSusa. Cases in the dataset were weighted and analyzed to produce population estimates.
Results: Trends from 1990 continued in 2000, with numbers of Puerto Ricans in production dropping to only 14% of that group. More than a fifth of Puerto Ricans worked in management and professional positions, a quarter in service jobs, and a third in service positions. Production jobs also dropped in Dominicans, and to a lesser extent, Ecuadorians. With rising populations, Dominicans shifted into service jobs, and Ecuadorians and Mexicans nearly doubled the percentage of their group in construction jobs. By 2009, Puerto Ricans had largely moved out of production jobs, and over a quarter worked in management or professional jobs, by far the most of these four Latino groups. A majority continued to work in sales or service. Fewer than one in six Dominicans worked in production, with over one in three in service positions. Mexicans are also predominantly in the service sector, with more than two in five working there. The decrease in Ecuadorians in the production sector is met by an equivalent increase in construction jobs, with about a fifth working in each sector.
Discussion: Over the past forty years, the types of jobs offered by New York’s economy have shifted from a more manufacturing-based economy to one with more professional, management, and service jobs. This report looks at how Latino immigrants and later generations have integrated into this changing economy, and how their job categories have shifted as well. Occupation strongly indicates lifestyle and its accompanying socioeconomic measures. Changes in the distribution of occupation in groups as they enter New York and as their children gain jobs in the economy lend insight into how economic assimilation is occurring.
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