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Are the Streets Paved with Gold? An Examination of the Socioeconomic Outcomes of Asian and Latino Immigrants to the United States

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Lobo, Peter. "Are the Streets Paved with Gold? An Examination of the Socioeconomic Outcomes of Asian and Latino Immigrants to the United States." PSC Research Report No. 93-282. July 1993.

The enactment of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act ended the European bias in U.S. immigration law but had the unintended effects of dramatically increasing overall immigration and altering the sources of immigrants to the United States. Asian and Latino immigration surged, while that of Europeans declined. This study uses Immigration and Naturalization Service data and 1980 and 1990 Census data to examine possible differentials in the socioeconomic assimilation of Asian and Latino cohorts. The author hypothesizes that a major component of economic and spatial integration of these immigrants is their class background at the time of immigration, and the study confirms this hypothesis by examining the association between class background and socioeconomic assimilation for various specific Asian and Latino groups. INS data from 1950 to 1989 show that, excluding the Vietnamese and the most recent Chinese immigrant cohort, over 40% of each entering Asian immigrant cohort had professional background, while less than 15% of Dominicans and 7% of Mexicans were so classified. And on virtually every socioeconomic characteristic and with respect to the process of attainment of earnings and occupational prestige, these Asian immigrants are better assimilated than Dominicans and Mexicans. There is thus an obvious correlation between occupational background at the time of entry into the United States and socioeconomic performance.

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