Penn Arts and Sciences

Immigration and the Housing Market, 1980-2020 (Dowell Myers)

Friday, November 1, 2013 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

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IMMIGRANTS ARE AN IMPORTANT AND GROWING SOURCE OF DEMAND that has bolstered housing markets in recent decades, Professor Myers argues, as housing demand has been more stable among foreign-born than native-born households. And as the housing market continues its recovery, it is important to understand the demographic trends which are likely to affect housing demand in the years ahead.  In presenting our best understanding of these trends projected to 2020, Myers will draw on his recent report, Immigrant Contributions to Housing Demand in the United States, prepared with John Pitkin and sponsored by the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Research Institute for Housing America (RIHA), as well as related work. 

Rooted in the demographic approach to housing that calculates demand as occupied units, projections are developed that build on observed regularities of temporal structure. Aging leads to predictable rates of selling or outmoding, and immigrants supply a growing share of the replacements among both owners and renters in the housing market.

"Foreign-born ownership demand comprised the majority of all growth in homeownership in the established gateway states of California and New York. From 2000 to 2010 immigrants accounted for 82.2 percent and 65.1 percent, respectively, of the growth in homeowners in those states. In that decade immigrants also accounted for the major share of net growth in owner households in Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Ohio and Michigan. . . . Foreign-born homeownership demand rose most dramatically in the newer destination states. For example, in Georgia and North Carolina, immigrants accounted for 34.1 percent and 24.8 percent, respectively, of the growth of homeowners from 2000 to 2010. These shares are nearly triple immigrants’ shares of homeowner growth of the 1990s in those states, 12.8 percent and 8.8 percent, respectively."
– From Immigrant Contribution to Housing Demand

Dowell Myers is Professor of Policy, Planning and Demography in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California and Director of USC’s Population Dynamics Research Group. He is a demographer and urban planner who integrates quantitative evidence with interpretations of problems and policy solutions. His research emphasizes the linkage of demographic data (census, surveys, and projections) to future trends in housing, workforce, education, taxpaying, voting, and immigration. He has been an advisor to the Bureau of the Census and authored the most widely referenced work on census analysis, Analysis with Local Census Data: Portraits of Change (Academic Press, 1992). His demographic work has included substantial emphasis on immigration, and his 2007 book, Immigrants and Boomers: Forging a New Social Contract for the Future of America, has been widely recognized. 

Recent research projects have focused on public narratives about immigration, aging, and taxation; projections of generational change in the U.S., California, and Los Angeles; and the upward mobility of immigrants the longer they reside in the U.S.  In all of his work, Myers seeks to create greater public understanding about pressing issues that affect our common future. He has been an academic fellow of the Urban Land Institute and a member of the Governing Board of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning. He is also one of two recipients of the Haynes Award for Research Impact.

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