ERIC Number: ED501689
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May
Reference Count: N/A
Measuring Immigrant Assimilation in the United States. Civic Report No.53
Vigdor, Jacob L.
Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
This report introduces a quantitative index that measures the degree of similarity between native- and foreign-born adults in the United States: the ability to distinguish the latter group from the former is defined as "assimilation." The Index of Immigrant Assimilation relies on Census Bureau data available in some form since 1900 and as current as 2006. The index reveals great diversity in the experiences of individual immigrant groups, which differ from each other almost as much as they differ from the native-born. They vary significantly in the extent to which their earnings have increased, their rate of learning the English language, and progress toward citizenship. Mexican immigrants, the largest group and the focus of most current immigration policy debates, have assimilated slowly, but their experience is not representative of the entire immigrant population. Collective assimilation rates are lower than they were a century ago, although no lower than they have been in recent decades. This is true despite the fact that recent immigrants have arrived less assimilated than their predecessors and in very large numbers. In addition to country of origin, the Index categorizes groups on the basis of date of arrival, age, and place of residence. Some groups have done far better or worse than the Index as a whole; Assimilation also varies considerably across metropolitan areas. The methodology used to compute the assimilation index is outlined in the report and detailed in an appendix. The assimilation index points to marks of success, to encouraging recent trends, and also to areas of concern. Within areas of concern, the index provides some insight into the nature of the problem and the universe of appropriate potential policy responses. However, the report neither proposes nor endorses any policy responses: its purpose is to present information in a manner useful to concerned citizens and policymakers who hope to make informed decisions regarding the proper course of action. (Contains 30 endnotes, 25 figures and 2 tables.)
Descriptors: Acculturation, Adults, Income, Wages, English (Second Language), Second Language Learning, Mexicans, Citizenship, Place of Residence, Immigration, Immigrants, Trend Analysis, Undocumented Immigrants
Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017. Tel: 212-599-7000; Fax: 212-599-3494; Web site: http://www.manhattan-institute.org
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Manhattan Inst., New York, NY. Center for Civic Innovation.
Identifiers - Location: Italy; Mexico; Vietnam