Mexican Immigrant Group Incorporation

Awarded Scholars:
Susan K. Brown, University of California, Irvine
Project Date:
Jun 2008
Award Amount:
Project Programs:

Mexicans have migrated to the United States in greater numbers than any other nationality in the history of the United States. People of Mexican ancestry now make up nine percent of the American population, and Mexican immigrants constitute 31 percent of the foreign-born. In an era characterized by fierce debate over immigration policy and diversity, it is becoming increasingly important to gain a systematic understanding of immigrant incorporation along a number of dimensions. Frank Bean and Susan Brown will write a book analyzing all aspects of Mexican incorporation: sociocultural, political, economic, linguistic, spatial, and geographical. While other studies tend to look at only one or two generations, this book will examine four generations of Mexican respondents. The authors will draw extensively from the data of the Russell Sage-funded Immigration and Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles (IIMMLA) study, as well as several large, nationally representative datasets and in-depth interviews. This is an investigation into the ways in which parents’ transition from the status of being undocumented to documented affects the level and timing of their children’s education, employment, neighborhood choice, and other aspects of assimilation, which requires data on both parents and their children. The IIMMLA survey and qualitative data will enable investigators to make “true” inter-generational comparisons. Bean and Brown will pay particular attention to such structural factors as naturalization and legal status and will look at the ways incorporation trajectories were altered after U.S. immigration policy changed in1965. They will also focus on the under-explored question of how pathways to citizenship shape the life chances of immigrants and their children, hypothesizing that a lack of access to citizenship may curtail the accumulation of resources among children of the next generation.


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