Despite the fact that people of Mexican origin are the largest immigrant group in the United States, little is known about the long-term course of their adaptation and assimilation into U.S. society. Are they progressing on a long path towards middle class status or are they engaging in behavior that will leave them idling at the low end of the economic distribution?
In previous RSF-funded research, Vilma Ortiz and Edward Telles of UCLA began to fill in this knowledge gap by re-surveying Mexican Americans in Los Angeles and San Antonio who were previously studied in 1965 by Leo Grebler, Joan Moore, and Ralph Guzman. While the first survey provided a rich cross-sectional view of this population’s demographics and attitudes, Ortiz and Telles’ follow-up now allows for a longitudinal view of the behavior and ethnic identification of first- though fourth-generation Mexican Americans in these areas. New funding from the Foundation will support analysis of this data, allowing the researchers to test hypotheses related to Mexican Americans' social mobility, their ethnic identity and behavior, their experiences with discrimination, and the relationship between socioeconomic status and ethnic identity.
UPDATE: Ortiz and Telles published their results in a RSF book, Generations of Exclusion.