Intergenerational Analysis of Immigrant Cultural and Political Incorporation

Awarded Scholars:
Leo R. Chavez, University of California, Irvine
Louis DeSipio, University of California, Irvine
Project Date:
Jun 2008
Award Amount:
Project Programs:

California is home to more than 25 percent of the United States’ immigrants. Of the state’s huge immigrant population, 55 percent reside in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The share of U.S. citizens born to immigrant parents has also increased. America’s “second generation” population now numbers over 30 million, 26 percent of whom live in Los Angeles County. Immigration researchers have spent the better part of two decades studying how those who arrived as young children (the so-called 1.5 generation) and those who were born in the United States to immigrant parents (the second generation) assimilate, but they have concentrated largely on economic measures of change or mobility between generations. Cultural and civic modes of incorporation, however, remain understudied. Using the Russell Sage-funded Immigration and Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles (IIMMLA) dataset, Leo Chavez and Louis DeSipio will write a book that specifically addresses how immigrant parents’ legal status affects the acculturation and political outcomes of their children. They argue that family dynamics have a profound effect on the meaning of civic and cultural belonging. The book will begin by analyzing immigrants’ family structure, including such household dynamics as marital status, intermarriage rates, fertility, teen pregnancy, and household composition. Chavez and DeSipio will also examine other aspects of the 1.5 and second generations’ life in America, including health outcomes, residential location, involvement with the criminal justice system, organizational participation, political engagement, and voting behavior. Finally, the investigators will consider how immigration in Los Angeles affects the broader picture of intergenerational mobility among contemporary U.S. immigrants.


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