Modes of International Couple Migration and Ethnic Differences in Female Labor Force Attachment: Comparing Asian and Mexican Immigrants in the U.S.

Qian He, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Labor force activities are insightful for immigrants’ socioeconomic incorporation into the host society. Recent decades witness increasing proportions of female immigrants to the US and widening disparities in their employment outcomes across major immigrant-sending countries exemplified by Mexico and several Asian countries. Using the 2012 American Community Survey, this study demonstrates that the predominant temporal orders of couple migration vary by countries of origin, reflecting different strategies for migrant families. Logistic regression results show that the three “modes of household migration”, conceptualized by husband-led migration, concurrent couple-migration, and wife-led migration respectively, are associated with ascending odds of immigrant women’s post-migration employment in the US, ceteris paribus. Comparing female migrants from six major Asian countries to those from Mexico, there are varying propensities to work by origin that are consistent with the continuity of sending-countries' gendered work norms, even after considering their sociodemographic characteristics, family structures, and modes of household migration.

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 Presented in Session P6. Migration and Urbanization/Population, Development, and the Environment