U.S. Meat Processing Industry Restructuring and New Hispanic Migration

William A. Kandel, U.S. Department of Agriculture (DOA)

Findings from the 2000 U.S. Census indicate high rates of Hispanic population increase outside urban areas as well as outside the Southwest. The diversity of new rural areas of destination raises questions about forces attracting migrants to these areas and the connection between economic structural change and Hispanic population growth. Our conceptual framework applies dual-labor market theory linking international migration to industrial restructuring in the meat processing industry with nonmetropolitan Hispanic population growth. We select a subsample of counties with exceptionally high meat processing production and detail its economic and demographic transformation. We document the consolidation and integration in the meat processing industry and its consequent increased demand for low skilled labor, outline the link between increased labor demand and recruiting and hiring of international migrants, and demonstrate ethnic and racial composition changes in the meat-processing industry.

Presented in Session 96: Immigrant Labor Market Integration and Impact