Segmented socioeconomic adaptation of New Eastern European professionals in the United States

Comparative Migration Studies. 2018;6(1):1-27 DOI 10.1186/s40878-018-0077-3


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Comparative Migration Studies

ISSN: 2214-594X (Online)

Publisher: SpringerOpen

Society/Institution: IMISCOE (International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion)

LCC Subject Category: Social Sciences: Communities. Classes. Races: Urban groups. The city. Urban sociology: City population. Including children in cities, immigration

Country of publisher: Netherlands

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML



Nina Michalikova (Department of Sociology, Gerontology and Substance Abuse Studies, University of Central Oklahoma)


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 13 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Abstract This study examines the socioeconomic adaptation of post-1991 Eastern European professionals in the United States. The data were obtained from the pooled 2006–2010 American Community Surveys. The analysis includes recent immigrants between ages of 25–65 who have at least an associate’s degree. Skilled immigrants in professional or managerial occupations are compared with non-professionals or managers to examine and compare socioeconomic outcomes. The findings presented in this study support the segmented assimilation theory and reveal cross-group and cross-country disparities in socioeconomic adaptation. Despite the high amount of human capital, Eastern European skilled immigrants tend to have a lower share of professionals and managers than other groups. Their average income is lower than the income of some other groups in the analysis, especially immigrants from Northern and Western Europe, suggesting these immigrants experience difficulties in transferring human capital. Among the three largest Eastern European groups – Russia, Ukraine, and Poland – there is a clear hierarchy in socioeconomic status with Russian professionals having the highest educational attainment and income, followed by immigrants from Ukraine and Poland. Results also revealed gender differences in socioeconomic adaptation. Women from Eastern Europe are highly professional, but they tend to be concentrated in different occupations than men, leading to a significant gender-wage gap. The effect of selected individual and country-level characteristics on skilled immigrants’ socioeconomic adaptation is discussed.