Immigrants in a New Destination: Reading, PA

Rohan Mascarenhas, Russell Sage Foundation
December 29, 2011

Urban Studies Journal

Immigrants from the Dominican Republic have faced a difficult transition to life in the United States. They and their children suffer from high poverty rates as well as poor educational and occupational outcomes. They are currently undergoing a large geographic shift—moving out of the areas in which they initially settled and into new communities, which are often smaller and have weaker economies. With an award from the Russell Sage Foundation, Salvador Oropesa of Pennsylvania State University examined one such community of Dominican immigrants in Reading, Pennsylvania. Here is the abstract from his latest study, "Neighbourhood Disorder and Social Cohesiveness among Immigrants in a New Destination: Dominicans in Reading, PA":

Dominican immigrants are increasingly turning away from traditional metropolitan gateways to settle in relatively small and medium-sized cities in the Northeast US. This study examines their views about neighbourhood social disorder and cohesiveness in Reading, Pennsylvania. The results indicate that residents are divided about the pervasiveness of disorder-related problems in their neighbourhoods. Moreover, views about social disorder have implications for social cohesiveness, but neither of these dimensions of urban life can be understood apart from immigrant incorporation. Among those who live in areas without disorder, naturalised citizens are especially likely to feel that they live in a tight-knit neighbourhood and to interact with neighbours. The study concludes with an examination of perceptions of neighbourhood safety.

Read the full study (subscription required).


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