Article

The New North Carolinians: The Economic Impact of the Hispanic and Immigrant Population in North Carolina

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Abstract

Over the last several decades, the movement of people into North Carolina has been so large and so pervasive that we call them, collectively, the “new” North Carolinians. Some of the new North Carolinians are immigrants, but most are “domestic imports.” The new North Carolinians are changing the character of the state’s population but even as they do so, the new North Carolinians often reaffirm and strengthen traditional North Carolina ways of life. This paper reviews the context in which the migration has taken place, describes the new North Carolinians, assesses their impact on the state’s economy, and explores policy options for long-term labor supply.

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... Rapid Latino growth has sometimes disrupted the established racial order, with Latinos seen as ''leapfrogging'' past African American workers or, at minimum, increasing competition for low-wage jobs (Marrow, 2011; Parisi et al., 2011; Rich and Miranda, 2005; Swarns, 2006a; Rocha and Easterbrook, 2006). Of course, such worries may be unfounded if economic growth and expanding employment opportunities have been sufficiently large to absorb recent in-migrants, if Latino newcomers and resident minorities occupy different occupational niches in local labor markets, or if rapid population growth has significant economic multiplier effects (e.g., generating new demands for goods and services) that benefit most workers, including African Americans (Kasarda and Johnson, 2006; Smith and Edmonston, 1997; Turner, 2014). Some qualitative investigations have touched on these issues (for a review, see Waters et al., 2014). ...
... They may also have greater access to the social safety net and the protection from poverty that it affords. Finally, a growing Latino population may also benefit African Americans by lowering consumer costs or creating new demands for services in sectors where they are employed (see Kasarda and Johnson, 2006; Lim, 2001; Smith and Edmonston, 1997). To summarize, the rapid in-migration of Latino workers is often viewed as a potential threat to the economic circumstances of African Americans in fast-growing Latino communities. ...
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... For school years 2001 to 2005, Latino students accounted for 57% of total growth in North Carolina public schools (Kasarda & Johnson, 2006). Many of these youth are native speakers of Spanish or another language, as demonstrated by the almost 400% increase in limited English proficiency students from 1994 to 2004 in North Carolina (Capps, 2009). ...
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Latino youth are more likely than any other ethnic group to drop out of high school in the United States. Though some research has helped us understand the factors leading to dropout, very few studies have assessed Latino student’s opinions of services and factors that would help them stay in school (e.g., family, school, peers, and policies). This study presents the results of an in-depth survey of 501 Latino students in North Carolina public schools. Findings suggest that Latino youth drop out because of the difficulty of their school work, personal problems (e.g., pregnancy or problems at home), the need to work to support their family economically, and peer pressure. Students suggest improved academic and personal support in the form of tutoring, mentoring, after-school programs; improved English as a second language classes; and more Spanish-speaking staff/teachers. Recommendations for intervention and policy are suggested.
Chapter
Beginning in the 1980s, but gaining momentum in the 1990s, North Carolina’s K-12 schools experienced a dramatic increase in the number of English language learner (ELL) students enrolling in schools across the state.
Chapter
In recent years, immigrants from Latin America in record numbers have chosen the South—and North Carolina, in particular—as a new and favored destination. Because race has been a decisive historical organizing category in the South, the legacy of racism remains an ongoing source of concern as Latina/os take their place in the state. Although some state institutions and entities adapted to accommodate the changing population, this chapter argues that nativist sentiment has been expressed through a number of practices, including a program known as 287(g) that authorizes the enforcement of immigration laws at the local level. The program has provided new-found authority upon which localities can disguise a local politics of resentments and racial hostilities toward immigrants through the use of the instrumentalities of immigration enforcement powers. However, one conceptualizes the larger framework of immigration issues, what remains clear is that the enforcement of immigration laws at the local level will inevitably involve historical legacies of race and tolerance.
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