Editorial Board: Editor: George H. Conklin, North Carolina Central University Board: Bob Davis, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University Richard Dixon, UNC-Wilmington Ken Land, Duke University Miles Simpson, North Carolina Central University Ron Wimberley, N.C. State University Robert Wortham, North Carolina Central University
Editorial Assistants Rob Tolliver, Duke University Shannon O'Connor, North Carolina Central University John W.M. Russell, Technical Consultant
Volume 5, Number 2
Southern (Dis)Comfort?: Latino Population Growth, Economic Integration and Spatial Assimilation in North Carolina Micropolitan Areas
Ana-María González Wahl
Wake Forest University
In the past two decades, the Latino population has grown dramatically across smaller towns and cities in the United States, transforming the racial/ethnic landscape in many cases (Kandel and Cromartie 2004). This growth reflects one of the most important demographic shifts captured in the last census. Historically, Latinos have been concentrated in a handful of "immigrant gateway cities." Since the 1990's, non-metropolitan communities in "new settlement states" have also become important destinations for many Hispanics. The arrival of Latinos to these communities has met with a mixed response. For employers, Hispanic workers represent a critical source of cheap labor which, in many cases, is deliberately recruited for jobs in meat packing, poultry processing, agriculture and other such labor-intensive industries. Many of these employers, in defense of their hiring practices, praise Hispanics for their "work ethic (Leiter, Hossfeld and Tomaskovic-Devey 2001; Powers 2005)." In contrast, many other native-born residents in small towns across America have responded to the growth of the Latino population with hostility. In a recent Washington Post story, demographer William Frey links this hostility to the defeat of the recent immigration reform bill. "Before, people outside the seven gateway states didn't care much one way or the other about immigration. Now, you suddenly have all these people across [small town] America seeing immigrants in their neighborhoods (Aizenman 2007: A01)."
North Carolina is foremost among the "new settlement states" at the center of these demographic shifts and immigration debates (Johnson, Johnson-Webb and Farrell 1999). In the 1990's, the Latino population grew more dramatically in this state than in any other state (U.S. Census Bureau 2001). Specifically, the Hispanic population increased by 394% from 1990 to 2000 (Powers 2005). Some Latinos have settled in large cities like Charlotte, drawn by the prospect of manufacturing and service sector jobs (Skaggs, Tomaskovic-Devey and Leiter 2000). Others have settled in small towns like Lumberton and Kinston, recruited to work in agriculture, poultry production, pork processing and textile plants that are scattered across non-metropolitan areas in North Carolina. In this state, the growth of the Latino population in non-metropolitan counties has been particularly dramatic since the 1990's. According to Kandel and Cromartie (2004), the Hispanic population grew by 416% in these counties, a rate higher than the rates reported in the non-metropolitan counties of other states.
This paper examines more closely the growth and assimilation of the Latino population in non-metropolitan areas across North Carolina. More specifically, the analysis focuses on micropolitan areas. Based on the last decennial census, micropolitan areas were newly defined by the Census Bureau to reflect the growing importance of "urban clusters" located in non-metropolitan counties. These areas include at least one urban core claiming a population of 10,000 but less than 50,000, as well as the population of "any adjacent communities that are economically or socially tied to this core (United States 2000)." More than 560 micropolitan areas are scattered across the country. Twenty-six are located in North Carolina. According to the last census, the population of these areas accounted for 77% of the non-metropolitan population in the state. The Latino population living in micropolitan areas accounted for 72% of all non-metropolitan Hispanics and 18% of all Hispanics in North Carolina. To date, we lack a systematic analysis of the economic and social location of this population in micropolitan areas, despite their growing importance as new Latino destinations. This study examines Latino population growth and assimilation in these communities. Two dimensions of assimilation are considered: first, economic integration and second, residential integration. The analysis of economic integration clarifies the role Latinos play in the North Carolina economy. The analysis of residential patterns clarifies the extent to which economic integration has been coupled with social integration. Taken together, these analyses address several key issues regarding the relationship between Latino newcomers, corporate interests, and long-time residents in small towns across North Carolina.
Latinos and Economic Growth in Non-Metropolitan Areas
Recent work that examines the growing dependence of the American economy on Latino immigrants highlights several developments that have drawn this population to North Carolina. Some scholars emphasize the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (Kandel and Parrado 2005; Powers 2005; Saenz, Morales, and Filoteo 2004). Prior to its passage, Hispanic immigrants were largely concentrated in California, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Florida and New York, where many were employed as "temporary workers" through the bracero program as well as similar initiatives. With immigration reform, more than two million foreign-born persons living in the U.S, mostly from Mexico, were legalized and thus could more freely pursue economic opportunities outside traditional settlement states. At the same time, the southern economy was experiencing a boom in manufacturing and other sectors, a development some label the hallmark of the "New South" (Kasarda, Hughes and Irwin 1991). In some industries, this expansion was concentrated in non-metropolitan counties. Pork, poultry, and beef processing ventures, in particular, grew most significantly in smaller towns, fueled by a broader effort toward vertical integration. From 1981 to 2000, the number of meat processing workers rose from 147,000 to 294,000 in non-metropolitan areas (Kandel and Parrado 2005). The growth of this labor force was particularly dramatic in non-metropolitan counties across the Southeast, where meat processing employment increased from 76,465 to 171,020. By 2000, non-metropolitan areas accounted for 76% of all meat processing workers in this region. To keep labor costs low, ConAgra, Smithfield, Tyson and other such conglomerates turned increasingly to Latino labor, recruiting from kinship networks and border towns (Gouveia and Stull 1995; Johnson-Webb 2002). From 1980 to 2000, the percentage of all meat processing workers who were Hispanic increased from 8.5% to 28.5% nationally (Kandel and Parrado 2005). In the most recent large-scale study of these trends, Kandel and Parrado (2005) find that the expansion of the meat processing sector significantly accounted for the particularly dramatic growth of the Hispanic population in non-metropolitan counties between 1980 and 2000. Hispanic population growth was also significantly tied to the growth of several other sectors in these counties, including agriculture, textiles and furniture.
The growing dependence on Hispanic workers in non-metropolitan areas reflects a complex set of forces at work. Perhaps most importantly, the jobs provided by pork processing, poultry processing, textiles, tobacco and other such sectors are typically low-wage and hazardous, conditions that generate high turnover in these industries. In southern states, in particular, these jobs have remained non-union despite the undesirable work conditions (Billings 1988). In the past two decades, conditions have deteriorated in several of these sectors as workers pay the price for rising international competition. In meat processing, for example, most companies have boosted productivity by increasing line speeds, which in turn raise injury rates, but failed to raise wages (Gouveia and Stull 1995; Wahl, Gunkel and Sanchez 2000). Given these conditions, Hispanic workers have become a more attractive source of labor than native-born workers. In general, Latino immigrants face a more limited set of employment options than those who are native-born, given that many are less educated and undocumented (Chacon 2005; Saenz, Morales and Filoteo 2004). Employers, in turn, have exploited their willingness to fill the most undesirable jobs in many industries for less pay than native-born workers might expect. According to several studies, these dynamics fuel a preference for Latino workers in many sectors that depend on unskilled labor. Employers defend this bias claiming Hispanics have a "stronger work ethic" than native-born workers, demonstrating a willingness to do low-wage work that others refuse (Kirschenman and Neckerman 1991).
Few studies have focused squarely on the way these dynamics have unfolded in North Carolina. Leiter, Hossfeld and Tomaskovic-Devey (2001), in a study that includes one metropolitan and one non-metropolitan county, find that employers widely express the preference for Latino workers that emerges in other research. Drawing from interviews with human resources personnel, this research found that employers rated Latino workers more favorably than either Black or white workers. Powers (2005), in a study that focuses on Pitt County, found that the majority of employers held similarly positive attitudes about Latino workers and less favorable attitudes towards other groups, claiming that they had difficulty finding "good workers" locally. Two studies of employment patterns across the state suggest these realities have fueled the growing dependence on Latino labor in several industries. Skaggs, Tomaskovic-Devey and Leiter (2000), using data from the EEO, found that Latino employment increased most dramatically in meat processing and products during the 1990’s, as expected. Two declining industries, textiles and furniture, ranked second and third in the growth of Latino employment. In most sectors, the increase in Latino labor reflects "ethnic succession," as non-Hispanic whites and African Americans leave low paid jobs for higher paid positions. In some cases, however, "ethnic displacement" occurred as Latino workers replaced non-Hispanic whites and African Americans competing for the same jobs. In a similar study, Kasarda and Johnson (2006) extend this research to include two other industries in which Latinos are typically concentrated across the United States: construction and agriculture. Using the Current Population Survey, they find that construction was the most important source of employment for Latinos in North Carolina, followed by wholesale and retail trade. However, this study notes that Hispanic employment increased considerably in all industries, even those hardest hit by international competition. This research, while valuable, does not break down the results for metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas, though it acknowledges that labor markets may differ significantly across these areas.
Latinos and Spatial Assimilation in Non-Metropolitan Areas
Despite the growing dependence on Latino workers, anti-immigrant hostility has risen considerably in the past two decades. Several scholars speculate that this hostility may increasingly relegate Latinos to the margins of social life even as they become more assimilated into the American economy (Camarillo and Bonilla 2001). In short, their location in the social fabric of the communities in which they settle may reflect a "new American Dilemma," reminiscent of the marginalization that African Americans historically have faced in the United States. Latinos, in other words, may be increasingly unwelcome in both larger gateway cities as well as smaller towns – and as a result face multiple forms of discrimination and social "apartness" (Aizenman 2007; Menchaca 1995; Sprengelmeyer 2007).
Research that focuses on residential segregation is central to debates about this "new American Dilemma." Residential segregation is one of the most important measures used to gauge the exclusion that racial/ethnic minorities face across American communities. Conversely, the "spatial assimilation" of racial and ethnic minorities into predominantly white neighborhoods is widely regarded an important measure of progress for these groups and race relations, more generally. In general, studies of residential segregation offer two perspectives (Charles 2003; Massey and Denton 1993). On the one hand, classical accounts provide a largely optimistic perspective rooted in the experience of European immigrants at the turn-of-the-century. These immigrants, as have others, initially settled in "ethnic enclaves" as a way to negotiate the challenges posed by language barriers, job discrimination, and, more generally, anti-immigrant hostility. As they accumulated capital, most immigrants moved into more integrated neighborhoods as part of a broader process of assimilation.
On the other hand, a less optimistic account of residential segregation and spatial assimilation emerges from the experience of African Americans (Massey and Denton 1993). In general, Blacks have faced higher levels of residential segregation than any other ethnic/racial minority. In the largest cities, many face "hypersegregation," relegated to neighborhoods that are predominantly Black. Further, African Americans have remained trapped behind the "color line" regardless of social class. In cities like Chicago, working class and middle class Blacks as well as poor Blacks have historically faced high levels of residential segregation.
Until recently, most scholars have treated the experience of Latinos as more similar to that of other immigrants than Blacks (Charles 2003). In most cities, Latino-white segregation scores have been considerably lower than Black-white segregation scores. More specifically, these scores reflect only "moderate" levels of Latino-white segregation rather than the high levels of segregation facing Blacks (Massey and Denton 1989). In addition, Latinos have typically moved from ethnic enclaves into predominantly white neighborhoods with gains in economic status and financial security (Massey and Denton 1993). Since 1990, however, Latinos have become more segregated from whites, at least in the largest cities (Frey and Farley 1996). In cities like Los Angeles, the levels of residential segregation facing Latinos have nearly converged with the levels of segregation facing Blacks.
With few exceptions, this research focuses on metropolitan areas. Only a handful of studies provide a systematic analysis of the residential segregation facing Latinos in non-metropolitan areas (Lichter and Johnson 2006; Wahl, Breckenridge and Gunkel 2007). None, however, closely examine these patterns in North Carolina. An analysis that focuses squarely on this state extends previous research in several ways. Perhaps most importantly, North Carolina provides the opportunity to examine the assimilation of Latinos in communities where African Americans have historically been the most important minority group. As in other Southern states, Blacks who reside in the non-metropolitan areas of North Carolina can trace their roots to the plantation economy that began with slavery. Many such areas, in fact, are part of the Southern "Black Belt," where more than 20% of the population is African American (Wimberley and Morris 1997). In contrast, the non-metropolitan areas which have typically been the focus of research on Latino segregation are located in the Southwest, where few African Americans reside. Several scholars suggest that the dynamics of segregation may differ significantly in these two contexts (Frey and Farley 1996; Lichter and Johnson 2006). On the one hand, some suggest that segregation for all groups may be lower in "multiethnic contexts," as North Carolina's non-metropolitan areas have become. On the other hand, racial biases that heighten segregation may be more entrenched in this state than in many other Latino settlement states, given the unique history of racial apartheid that defines the South.
Data and Methods
This analysis depends on several widely used sources of data. County Business Patterns (U.S. Department of Commerce 2000) provide the most comprehensive data on the number of persons employed in all major sectors of the American economy, including manufacturing and agriculture. Detailed counts on employment in meat processing, textiles and other manufacturing industries, however, are suppressed for many counties. Thus, this analysis also draws from Reference USA (InfoUSA 2000) to identify some of the leading employers in these areas.
To tap population demographics, we use the Census of Population and Housing for 1990 and 2000. Summary File 1 provides full population counts that distinguish Hispanics from non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic Blacks and other non-Hispanics. Those who identified as two or more races are excluded from this analysis, since they constitute less than one percent of the total population in North Carolina. Summary File 4 provides more detailed information collected for a large representative sample of households. Specifically, this data is used to tap the location of Latinos in the economic structure of micropolitan areas.
To measure residential segregation, this study uses the index of dissimilarity, the most commonly employed statistic in research which focuses on this dimension of the racial divide. The dissimilarity index is considered a measure of evenness, tapping the extent to which individuals belonging to a particular ethnic or racial group are evenly distributed across all neighborhoods in a city or, conversely, concentrated in some neighborhoods (Massey and Denton 1988). The measure ranges from 0 indicating complete integration to 100 indicating complete segregation of two groups. The general consensus is that an index of dissimilarity that falls below 30 indicates low levels of segregation while values from 30 to 60 indicate moderate segregation and values above 60 indicate high segregation. As in many other studies, segregation is measured at the level of census tracts.
The analysis is limited to include only those micropolitan areas that reported a Latino population of 1000 or more at the time of the last decennial census. The list released by the Office of Management and Budget in June 2003 identifies a total of twenty-six micropolitan areas in North Carolina. Twenty of these have a Latino population of 1000 or more and thus, are included in this analysis. This is the threshold typically used in studies that calculate statistical measures of segregation, given that these indices become unreliable and difficult to interpret when the minority population falls below 1000. The segregation scores provided in this analysis essentially establish a baseline for the sample of micropolitan areas that were selected using this threshold, since the Latino population was not sufficiently large to accurately calculate segregation indices for earlier decades. In all the cases included in this study, the number of non-Hispanic Blacks is also greater than 1000, allowing for a comparison of the segregation facing Latinos and African Americans.
Importantly, the census data we use in these analyses includes both documented and undocumented individuals. However, it is important to acknowledge that this data likely underestimates the number of undocumented individuals in micropolitan areas as well as elsewhere since some are reluctant to complete any government sponsored survey. To the extent that this population is undercounted, Latino population growth in this sample of micropolitan areas is likely greater than this analysis indicates. Similarly, the number of Latinos employed in those industry sectors that depend heavily on undocumented workers is likely higher than reported in census data. Despite these limitations, scholars widely depend on the decennial census to track Latino population growth, employment and residential patterns because it remains one of the most systematically collected and complete sources of data on Hispanics in the United States.
Latino Population Growth in Micropolitan Areas
To begin, Table 1 provides an overview of Latino population growth in North Carolina's micropolitan areas. Consistent with anecdotal news reports and recent research, the Latino population in these areas grew dramatically from 1990 to 2000. On average, this population increased by 482%, a rate more than seven times that reported for the Hispanic population nationally. In several micropolitan areas, the Latino population grew by more than 600%, an increase that exceeded the growth registered in most of North Carolina's metropolitan areas. More generally, the results reported in Table 1 confirm the importance of smaller towns like Lumberton, Sanford and Salisbury as new Latino destinations. In 1990, fewer than 14,000 Hispanics resided in the twenty micropolitan areas included in this study. By 2000, nearly 65,000 Hispanics had settled in these non-metropolitan communities.
This growth is particularly remarkable given that the economic prospects in micropolitan areas across North Carolina have been more mixed than many accounts of the "New South" suggest. Consistent with these accounts, these areas did witness substantial economic growth from 1990 to 2000. Total employment, reported in Table 2, increased in 80% of these communities during this period. Manufacturing, however, declined significantly in all but five micropolitan areas, indicative of the many plant closings that have occurred in textiles and furniture (see Kalleberg 2007). The expansion of food processing in some places, in other words, has not compensated for these job losses.
Despite this decline, manufacturing is the most important source of employment for Latinos living in these micropolitan areas, as the results reported in Table 3 indicate. With few exceptions, the percentage of Latinos who are employed in manufacturing is larger than the percent employed in any other major industry sector. In most micropolitan areas, more than 30% of all Latinos are employed in this sector. This figure rises to more than 50% in places like Sanford and Thomasville-Lexington. In these as well as other micropolitan areas, several large textile companies remain, like National Textiles and Burlington Industries. Similarly, the micropolitan areas included in this study are also home to large food processing plants operated by conglomerates like Smithfield Packing and Tyson. As expected, these sectors account for an important share of the manufacturing jobs Latinos have secured in several of these places. More specifically, food manufacturing accounts for ten percent or more of all Latino employment in five of these communities. Similarly, textiles and apparel account for ten percent or more of all Latino employment in nine of these communities. Latinos are also employed, however, in many other manufacturing industries from tobacco processing to furniture and plastics.
Two other sectors, agriculture and construction, also represent an important source of employment for Hispanics in micropolitan areas. Agriculture is particularly important in places like Kinston, Rockingham and Lumberton, where tobacco, poultry and hog production are key interests. In most other micropolitan areas, construction is more important, accounting for more than ten percent of all Latino employment.
Though many jobs across these sectors involve similarly demanding physical labor, wages differ considerably. As a result, the socioeconomic status of Latinos across micropolitan areas also differs, as reflected in Table 4. Median household income ranges from a low of $17,361 in Pamlico County, one of the three counties that make up New Bern, to a high of $36,500 in Morehead City. (For New Bern, we report the median household income for each of the three counties included in this micropolitan area). One important constant, however, is evident across all micropolitan areas; as expected, Latinos lag considerably behind non-Hispanic whites, indicative of the occupational segregation occurring in the workplace. Median household income for non-Hispanic whites exceeds by more than $5000 median household income for Hispanics in the majority of micropolitan areas. However, Latinos have secured a sizable advantage over African Americans, at least in terms of household income. In most micropolitan areas, African American households report considerably lower incomes than Hispanic households. In nine cases, Latino household income exceeds Black household income by more than $5000. This advantage most likely reflects, at least in part, the fact that Latino households typically include more adult workers (Reimers 2006).
Taken together, these results indicate that micropolitan areas have provided an important set of economic opportunities for newly arrived Latinos. However, our analysis also indicates that most jobs in all major industry sectors remain in the hands of non-Hispanics, even as Hispanic labor has become increasingly important. In most micropolitan areas, Latinos account for less than 10% of all workers in manufacturing, agriculture, construction or wholesale and retail trade (see Table 5). One important exception is evident within manufacturing. As many accounts anticipate, food processing has become more heavily dependent on Latino workers than have other sectors, at least according to census results. By 2000, Latino workers accounted for 17.5%, on average, of all individuals employed in this sector. This figure rises to 25.5%, 30.3%, 49.2% and 66.2%, respectively, in four micropolitan areas that, not coincidentally, also rank among the top ten in the size of their Latino population: Dunn, Lumberton, Mount Airy and Sanford.
In many small towns, the growth of the Latino population and Latino labor force has fueled the perception among native-born workers that these newcomers represent a serious threat. Though non-Hispanics remain the majority, the decline of manufacturing jobs in most micropolitan areas may exacerbate this perception. Residential integration can potentially counter the racial and ethnic tension that may emerge in this economic context. Below, the analysis shifts to focus on this dimension of assimilation.
Latinos and Spatial Assimilation in Micropolitan Areas
The patterns of residential segregation and spatial assimilation that Latinos have encountered in micropolitan areas vary considerably, as the measures reported in Table 6 indicate. In general, however, Latinos face only "low" to "moderate" levels of segregation in most of these communities. In 25% of these places, the index of dissimilarity tapping the segregation of Latinos from non-Hispanic whites falls below 30. In another 65% of these cases, segregation scores range from 30 to 49. In only two cases does the index of dissimilarity rise above 50. In Thomasville-Lexington, where more than 4000 Hispanics have settled, the segregation score indicates that 53% would have to move to be evenly distributed across the census tracts in which whites live. In Wilson, which claims a similarly large Hispanic population, this figure rises to 57%. In no case, however, does the index of dissimilarity rise to levels commonly considered high (i.e.. greater than 60).
In most cases, interestingly, Latinos are more segregated from Blacks than from Whites. In five micropolitan areas, Latino-Black segregation scores exceed Latino-White segregation scores by more than ten points, a difference typically considered substantial. These scores, however, rise no higher than 48. In other words, Latino-Black segregation scores, like Latino-White segregation scores, are either low or moderate for this set of micropolitan areas. Perhaps more importantly, Latino-White segregation is lower than Black-White segregation in almost two thirds of these communities, a pattern that reproduces the pattern uncovered by Massey and Denton (1989) for most metropolitan areas.
Finally, our results suggest that micropolitan areas provide a set of opportunities for assimilation not as widely available in the largest cities of North Carolina. Most importantly, Latinos in these small "urban clusters" are much more likely than Latinos in cities like Charlotte, Raleigh and Winston-Salem to live in the same census tracts as non-Hispanic whites. More specifically, Latino-White segregation indices for the five largest cities, which are also the largest Hispanic population centers, are considerably higher than Latino-White segregation indices for most micropolitan areas.
In general, these results provide a more optimistic portrait of the prospects facing Latinos in micropolitan areas across North Carolina than some suggest. However, the opportunities for further integration and interaction at the level of neighborhoods as well as other arenas of social life depend, in part, on future demographic trends. In particular, residential integration may be undermined if non-Hispanics leave micropolitan areas as Hispanics arrive, a pattern evident in some cities and towns. In North Carolina, the reverse seems to be occurring in most cases. From 1990 to 2000, the non-Hispanic white population grew by 5% or more in the majority of micropolitan areas. In only four communities did this population decline. Similarly, the African American population grew by 5% or more in most micropolitan areas and declined in only four of these communities.
Only a handful of studies have examined Hispanic population growth and assimilation in small towns across the United States, despite the importance of these communities as new Latino destinations. This analysis extends this research to focus squarely on micropolitan areas in North Carolina. Several important findings, both expected and unexpected, emerge. First, the results confirm that micropolitan areas in North Carolina have, in fact, become key destinations for Latinos as they have moved from "city to country" in the past two decades. Based on the last census, this study clarifies the record high rates of Latino population growth that these communities have witnessed. Second, this analysis reveals that the growth of the Hispanic population in these areas has occurred despite declines in manufacturing jobs. North Carolina, in other words, represents an important exception to the patterns uncovered in nationwide studies, which tie Latino population growth in non-metropolitan areas to growth in the manufacturing sector (e.g.. Kandel and Parrado 2005). Notwithstanding this decline, this sector remains important across micropolitan areas, as poultry and pork processing have expanded in some communities and several large textile and furniture plants continue to operate despite downsizing in recent years. Consistent with several studies, Latinos have found employment in all of these industries. Manufacturing, in fact, represents the most important source of jobs for Hispanic workers living in North Carolina's micropolitan areas. These job opportunities, perhaps coupled with household-based strategies to maximize household income, have provided Latinos a socioeconomic position that mirrors that evident nationally. Latinos lag behind non-Hispanic whites in their household income but have moved ahead of African Americans.
In most micropolitan areas, these patterns of economic assimilation and attainment have been coupled with a significant measure of residential integration for Latinos. More specifically, Latinos face only low to moderate levels of residential segregation in micropolitan areas, at least at the level of census tracts. Further, dissimilarity scores indicate that Latinos in most micropolitan areas are less segregated than their counterparts in the largest cities of North Carolina. In contrast, African Americans are more segregated from whites than are Latinos in most micropolitan areas, a pattern that mirrors the pattern evident in metropolitan areas. Spatial assimilation patterns in micropolitan areas, in other words, reflect the Latino advantage over Blacks that Massey and Denton (1989) as well as other scholars emphasize in studies that focus on the largest urban areas. The generalizability of this finding to non-metropolitan areas represents one of the most important revelations of this study. This analysis does not, however, resolve debates about the processes that produce Latino-Black differences. Consistent with Massey and Denton, these patterns may reflect the continuing significance of the color line which, in North Carolina, is rooted in the racism of the "Old South." However, class factors may also contribute to these patterns. Blacks, in other words, may be more segregated from whites because they are more economically disadvantaged relative to this group than are Latinos. Future research should more systematically disentangle the effects of class, race and the legacy of the "Old South" on residential segregation in non-metropolitan areas.
Scholars should also examine other dimensions of assimilation to more fully tap the experience of Latinos in new settlement states like North Carolina. Latinos residing in micropolitan areas may have secured some measure of economic assimilation and spatial assimilation but "social apartness" may persist. Neither economic integration nor residential integration, in other words, necessarily guarantees that Latinos will be treated as "full citizens" of these communities. Long-time residents may instead continue to define Hispanic newcomers as "other," even as they become neighbors and co-workers.
The most recent wave of anti-immigrant hostility suggests this possibility must be seriously examined in future studies of micropolitan areas. This hostility, in large part centered in small towns, indicates that the politics of exclusion have gained ground despite the growing dependence of the American economy on Latino workers. North Carolina has been at the center of political efforts to restrict immigration but the way this political battle has unfolded in micropolitan areas has yet to be carefully examined. Some scholars suggest that recent plant closings and the continued decline of manufacturing in non-metropolitan areas across North Carolina may have exacerbated racial divisions in the past few years, fueling anti-immigrant sentiments (see Powers 2005). Given this, residential segregation and other forms of "social apartness" may have increased since the last census. Using the segregation indices reported in this study as a baseline, scholars should draw from both the next census as well as ethnographic research to track the fate of Latino newcomers in small towns across North Carolina. More broadly, scholars should extend the geographic scope of research on Latinos to include micropolitan areas, an increasingly important terrain of race relations in the United States.
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