September 2007

IZA DP No. 3050: Ethnic Identity and Immigrant Homeownership

Amelie F. Constant, Rowan Roberts, Klaus F. Zimmermann

published in: Urban Studies, 2009, 46 (9), 1879-1898

Immigrants are much less likely to own their homes than natives, even after controlling for a broad range of life-cycle and socio-economic characteristics and housing market conditions. This paper extends the analysis of immigrant housing tenure choice by explicitly accounting for ethnic identity as a potential influence on the homeownership decision, using a two-dimensional model of ethnic identity that incorporates attachments to both origin and host cultures. The evidence suggests that immigrants with a stronger commitment to the host country are more likely to achieve homeownership for a given set of socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, regardless of their level of attachment to their home country.