Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration

Submission Deadlines: See upcoming deadlines

The severe consequences of the Covid19-pandemic, including its economic disruptions, and the recent mass protests to combat systemic racial inequality in policing and other institutions have reaffirmed the importance of social science research examining economic, political, racial, ethnic, generational, and social inequalities relevant to public policy and social change. RSF encourages proposals that analyze any of these issues on topics of interest under our Race, Ethnicity and Immigration program. [Click here for Covid-19 priorities].

The Russell Sage Foundation’s program on Race, Ethnicity & Immigration supports innovative investigator-initiated research on the social, economic, and political effects of the changing racial and ethnic composition of the U.S. population, including the transformation of communities and ideas about what it means to be American. We are especially interested in research that examines the roles of race, ethnicity, nativity, gender and legal status in outcomes for immigrants, U.S.-born racial and ethnic minorities, and native-born whites.

RSF encourages multi-disciplinary perspectives and methods that both strengthen the data, theory, and methods of social science research and foster a better understanding of how to foster the ideals of a pluralist society. Proposals may focus on any one or more of the issues—race, and/or ethnicity, and/or immigration.

The kinds of questions that are of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

Increasing Racial and Ethnic Diversity, Attitudes Towards Others and Social Inclusion

  • To what extent has the prospect of a "majority-minority" population triggered racially conservative politics among whites or more active political participation by racial and ethnic minorities?
  • How do race-related beliefs—such as concepts of difference, prejudice towards other groups, and attitudes towards race-related policies—evolve in the context of growing ethno-racial diversity?
  • Has the rapid growth in the Asian population raised its economic and political prominence and influenced attitudes towards Asians?
  • How have institutions such as labor unions, community- and faith-based organizations, schools, and the criminal justice system responded to increasing racial/ethnic diversity?
  • How have these institutional responses to diversity affected social, economic or political disparities between the foreign-born and the U.S.-born?
  • How do attitudes towards affirmative action vary between- and within-groups?How have they changed over time and under what conditions?

Immigration Policy and Immigrant Integration Policies

  • Some state and local ordinances attempt to exclude immigrants from access to schools, medical services, housing, and employment, but in others attempt to facilitate immigrant integration. What are their various effects on immigrant outcomes?
  • What are the effects of recent immigration enforcement policies on the social and political integration of immigrants?

The Role of Legal Status in Immigrant Outcomes

  • How does lack of documentation affect labor market outcomes for immigrants, their families, and other workers?
  • To what extent does undocumented immigration affect how employers structure their hiring and employment practices?
  • What are the effects of the implementation of administrative relief policies (such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy or Temporary Protected Status designation) on immigrant outcomes?
  • How do assumptions about the legal status of immigrants affect the attitudes and behaviors of both the foreign-born and the native-born?

Ethnic and Racial Socialization and Identity Formation

  • How do parents and others transmit information, values, and perspectives about ethnicity and race to children? What are the consequences of these practices for children's development, including social identity, coping with discrimination, academic achievement, political engagement, and psychosocial well-being?
  • How does increased intermarriage affect identities, interactions, and perceptions of suitable partners, and the multi-ethnic and multi-racial children of these unions?

Immigration, Racial and Ethnic Diversity, and Integration

  • Who becomes naturalized and what is the value of naturalization in the labor market, in political and civic life, and in other areas?
  • How are ideas about race changing with immigration?What social, cultural and psychological processes underlie racial and ethnic identity formation?
  • To what extent is participation in public programs (from Medicaid to nutritional assistance programs and others) affected by heightened immigration enforcement?
  • To what extent have intensified apprehension and deportation policies affected the socioeconomic outcomes of immigrant children, youth and young adults?

Criminal Justice, Policing, and the Legal System

  • How do interactions with the carceral state affect opportunities for political participation?
  • How do experiences of policing or incarceration affect young people’s opportunities regarding employment, education and income.?

Social Movements and Responses to Diversity

  • To what extent have political mobilization and social movements protesting inequality, racism, policing and criminal justice issues affected young people’s opportunities regarding employment, education and income?
  • How do political and social movements such as Black Lives Matter affect political attitudes, behaviors and opportunities?
  • What are the social, political, economic, and psychological consequences of the rise of white nativism and white supremacy for the life chances of immigrants and ethnoracial minorities?

Intergroup Relations

  • What are the sources of conflict, tension and accommodation between newcomers and long-term residents? What factors contribute to acceptance of new immigrants and which ones lead to conflict?
  • What is the relationship between newer and older immigrant groups and between first-generation immigrants and citizen co-ethnics? How does the presence of the co-ethnics shape the integration and socialization of new arrivals?

Application Information

We are particularly interested in analyses that make use of newly available data or demonstrate novel uses of existing data. We also support original data collection. Proposals to conduct field experiments, in-depth qualitative interviews, and ethnographies are also encouraged.

The Foundation encourages methodological variety and inter-disciplinary collaboration. All proposed projects must have well-developed conceptual frameworks and research designs. Analytical models must be specified and research questions and hypotheses (where applicable) must be clearly stated.

Funding can be used for research assistance, data acquisition, data analysis, and investigator time for conducting research and writing up results. Trustee Grants are generally capped at $175,000, including 15% indirect costs, over a two-year period. Presidential Awards are capped at $35,000 (no indirect costs). PIs may request up to $50,000 (no indirect costs) when the proposed research project has special needs for gathering data (e.g.: qualitative research) or gaining access to restricted-use data.

RSF receives so many applications for its limited funding that it no longer considers submissions that make use of publicly-available data, such as the Current Population Survey, American Community Survey, Panel Study of Income Dynamics, National Longitudinal survey of Youth, etc. However, if the project addresses a pressing issue or uses these data in an innovative way, RSF may consider such proposals as Presidential grants with a maximum budget of $35,000.

A brief letter of inquiry (4 pages max. excluding references) must precede a full proposal to determine whether the proposed project is in line with the Foundation's program priorities and available funds. All applications must be submitted through the Foundation's online submission system. Questions should be addressed to Aixa Cintrón-Vélez, Program Director, at programs@rsage.org.


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