Pathways to Success: The Successful Second Generation in New York City

Awarded Scholars:
Richard Alba, CUNY Graduate Center
Maurice Crul, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Vivian Louie, W. T. Grant Foundation
Project Date:
Mar 2015
Award Amount:

Co-funded with the MacArthur Foundation

While many studies have been conducted on immigrants "at the bottom," we know little about those who succeeded against the odds. For example, there are very few studies of successful children of immigrants who are at the top levels in the labor market. Their pathways, however, could yield important lessons about how disadvantaged groups may overcome social inequalities.

Sociologists Richard Alba, Maurice Crul and Vivian Louie will examine how some second generation children in New York City overcome educational and housing inequalities and, later in life, achieve labor market and income success. The primary research questions are: How have the second generation immigrants made their way into professional and executive positions? And how does this process differ in New York City compared to select European cities? Crul and Louie will use job status as their criterion for success and will concentrate on people in professional and executive functions across different sectors, including corporate law, business, and education. This project builds on the ELITES: Pathways to Success study that explores the successful second generation in six European cities (Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Stockholm) by adding a U.S. comparison.


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