Journal Article
Hispanics and recent latino immigrants locate disproportionally in places with Spanish names

There is a strong demographic association between Spanish place-names and the share of the Hispanic population in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Nevada, and Texas. After controlling for county xed eects and a host of observable variables, two otherwise observably-similar and geographically-proximate communities that only dier by Spanish-name origin can be expected to contain a share of Hispanics that diers by 3 percentage points. This implies an increment in the population of Hispanic origin of 10 percent in Spanish-named towns. The association between Spanish toponymy and Hispanic demographics was already strong 40 years ago. However, recent Latino immigrants were also more likely to locate in places with Spanish names. Conventional naming patterns had strong social impacts 150 years after the Mexican-American War and subsequent acquisition of these territories. These results with respect to a seemingly irrelevant local attribute, toponymy, underline the historical resilience of culturallydriven demographic settlement patterns.

Title
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsSaiz A
Journal MIT Working Paper Series
Abstract

There is a strong demographic association between Spanish place-names and the share of the Hispanic population in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Nevada, and Texas. After controlling for county xed eects and a host of observable variables, two otherwise observably-similar and geographically-proximate communities that only dier by Spanish-name origin can be expected to contain a share of Hispanics that diers by 3 percentage points. This implies an increment in the population of Hispanic origin of 10 percent in Spanish-named towns. The association between Spanish toponymy and Hispanic demographics was already strong 40 years ago. However, recent Latino immigrants were also more likely to locate in places with Spanish names. Conventional naming patterns had strong social impacts 150 years after the Mexican-American War and subsequent acquisition of these territories. These results with respect to a seemingly irrelevant local attribute, toponymy, underline the historical resilience of culturallydriven demographic settlement patterns.

URLhttp://web.mit.edu/urbeconlab/5%20Immigration%20and%20Hispanic%20Growth%20in%20the%20US/Project%201_Immigrants%20and%20Spanish%20City%20Names/Immigrants%20and%20Spanish%20City%20Names.pdf