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Race, Ethnicity, and Place in a Changing America

John W. Frazier, Eugene L. Tettey-Fio

Publication Year: 2010

A comprehensive assessment of how race and ethnicity affect the places we live, work, and visit. “This timely volume is a storehouse of knowledge that brings together a wide selection of scholars in a rigorous and comprehensive assessment of race, ethnicity, and place. The primacy of place in ethnic and racial discourse is resurrected in this volume.” — Professor Joseph Oppong, University of North Texas “Race, Ethnicity, and Place in a Changing America provides one of the most rigorous and comprehensive assessments available on racial and ethnic geographies and explains why they are important to all of us.” — From the Foreword by Orlando Taylor (Howard University) and Douglas Richardson (Association of American Geographers

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: Global Academic Publishing

Race, Ethnicity, and Place in a Changing America

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pp. v

This book could not be published without the support of many people. Jean-Pierre Mileur, the Dean of Harpur College of Arts and Sciences, financially supported the second “Race, Ethnicity and Place Conference (REP II) in 2004, which was the impetus of this book. We are very grateful to him. Orlando Taylor, Graduate Dean of Howard University, and Douglas Richardson, Executive Director of the Association of American Geographers, also financially sponsored REP II, which was held on the campus of ...


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pp. vii-ix

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pp. xi-xii

The human geography of the United States reflects both continuity and change due to a number of global, national, and local forces, one of the overarching themes of Race, Ethnicity, and Place in a Changing America. Some patterns, such as the black ghetto, have persisted due to unfortunate circumstances, while new places have taken on special meaning and purpose for groups, such as the Eden Center in northern Virginia for the Vietnamese. As ethnic groups relocate, they reshape inherited landscapes, remaking places to reflect their ...

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pp. xiii-xvi

Two of the most significant changes occurring in the second half of 20th century America involved racial and ethnic composition of the population and the national focus on civil rights policy (housing, school desegregation, etc.). Debates about U.S. immigration after WWII resulted in profound changes in the magnitude and origins of immigration flows into the country. In the same period, the U.S. was steeped in the conflicts of the Civil Rights Era. The laws that emerged on these two fronts dramatically changed how America would treat ...

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Part I. Perspectives on American Race and Ethnicity

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pp. xvii

Section one contains five chapters that provide varied approaches to the study of American race and ethnicity in a place context. Chapter one lays the foundation for the book by providing definitions and context for the basic concepts it presents. The next two chapters examine aspects of race but from very different perspectives. Chapter two provides a stark contrast to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s perception of future American racial landscapes by exploring the racial landscape images of Malcolm X. In doing so, we see how the human ...

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Chapter 1. Race, Ethnicity, and Place in a Changing America: A Perspective

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pp. 1-24

Culture, and the human geography it produces, persists over a long time period. However, culture changes slowly, as does the visible landscape it produces and the ethnic meanings imbued by the group that shapes it. That many examples of persistent and new cultural landscapes exist in the United States is not surprising given the major technological, demographic, and economic changes in American society since World War II (WWII). America emerged from WWII as one of two superpowers, developed and embraced technology that ...

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Chapter 2. Nightmarish Landscapes: The Orwellian World of Malcolm X

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pp. 25-32

The statements of Malcolm X1 refer directly to concepts articulated within the discipline of Geography, namely national and ethnic identity. But Malcolm X also spoke to the notion of geographical imaginations, of alternative place-making and place-meaning. I take this observation as the starting point of my study. In so doing I contribute to the project of David Delaney (1998, p. 9) who argues that “if we want to understand the historical constructions of geographies of race and racism in the United States, [then] we have to do more than map changing distributions of ‘black people’.” This paper, therefore, is a convergence of three areas of inquiry: cultural landscapes, dystopian literatures, and jeremiad rhetoric . . .

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Chapter 3. Public Policy Impacts on School Desegregation, 1970–2000

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pp. 33-44

Public schools have struggled with their response to the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Brown v. Board of Education. More than 700 separate court cases involving several thousand school districts have dealt with the requirement to desegregate. Yet court decisions in the 1990s paved the way for releasing districts from desegregation orders in many cases even if whites and minorities were again becoming more separate. School districts that voluntarily sought to retain desegregation plans became subject to lawsuits from ...

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Chapter 4. The New Metropolitan Geography of Immigration: Washington, D.C. in Context

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pp. 45-56

The front door of the Long Branch public library in suburban Montgomery County in Washington, D.C. welcomes visitors in 11 languages. This is not a symbolic gesture meant to embrace multiculturalism, but a reflection of the clientele served by this branch library. Inside, library visitors can find print, audio, and visual materials in major world languages and a language lab to sharpen their English language skills. A telephone interpretation service is offered in 140 languages. . .

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Chapter 5. U.S. Immigration and Racialized Assimilation

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pp. 57-66

When these experiences are related to my undergraduate classes, a typical response from them is: “Wow, you are SO Americanized in the way you answered the question in 2005!” While I certainly agree with this assessment, the above two scenes also prompted me to think beyond the experiences themselves. Yes, I have become Americanized in some ways, but in what specific ways? My answers to the questions about my English, 17 years apart, indeed revealed part of my “acculturation” process . . .

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Part II. U.S. African American, African, and Caribbean Geographies

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pp. 67-68

This section continues the overarching themes of the text, including racial discrimination against minorities, the perseverance displayed by minorities, movement, ethnic diversity, and how racial and ethnic geographies are created. It illustrates how African Americans and more recent black migrants, including first-generation immigrants, have carved their respective niches in order to have a community and a support system . . .

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Chapter 6. Black American Geographies: A Perspective

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pp. 69-82

Until recently, blacks constituted the largest minority population in America. The U.S. Census 2000 reported about 34 million blacks and approximately 35 million Latinos. Even though Latinos have surpassed blacks as the largest minority group, the token minority status of blacks remains in social focus. This is partly the result of the better assimilation of other minority groups and the persistence of Dubois’ “color line” in the United States . . .

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Chapter 7. People on the Move: African Americans Since the Great Migration

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pp. 83-96

African Americans have been people on the move since the period of American Reconstruction. Their movements have been shaped by choices confined in part by the racial boundaries imposed by white-controlled American institutions. Racial geography, therefore, contains African American cultural landscapes that reflect unique cultural history and ethnicity, and the controls of white America. This chapter examines briefly two major movements since the Great Migration and discusses some of their dimensions from a geographic perspective. One is black suburbanization during the 20th century . . .

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Chapter 8. Lending and Race in Two Cities: A Comparison of Subprime Mortgages, Predatory Mortgages, and Foreclosures in Washington, D.C. and Akron, Ohio

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pp. 97-110

A new form of housing finance has emerged within the past 10 years. Up until the mid 1990s, studies of mortgage lending were more concerned with whether mortgage lenders avoided loans in the inner city. The volume of loans in poor, predominantly African-American, inner city neighborhoods was disproportionately small and denial rates were disproportionately high. In the extreme form of “redlining,” such neighborhoods were considered too risky and excluded from all mortgage investment . . .

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Chapter 9. Concentrated Poverty, Race, and Mortgage Lending: Implications for Anti-Predatory Lending Legislation

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pp. 111-118

The differential access to mortgage loans based on race, class, and residential location of population groups is a serious public policy issue. It appears from reports that populations that are black or Hispanic and reside in areas of concentrated poverty are more likely to be denied prime loans and forced to obtain subprime loans (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2000 and 2002). While prime loans are made to borrowers at the prevailing interest rates, subprime loans have interest rates that are less favorable. Indeed, some ...

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Chapter 10. Race, Location and Accessto Employment in Buffalo, N.Y.

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pp. 119-130

Differences in the residential, employment, and household characteristics of African Americans and European Americans as well as racial differences in the journey to work are well documented. There are many studies about the commuting behavior of non-whites, but the specific impact of the exodus of jobs to suburban locations on African American men and women who live in inner cities is still widely debated. An earlier study of Buffalo, N.Y. which, examined racial differences in commuting focused only on women (Johnston-Anumonwo, 1995); and in a follow-up ...

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Chapter 11. The Formation of a Contemporary Ethnic Enclave: The Case of “Little Ethiopia” in Los Angeles

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pp. 131-140

The urban enclave is popularly characterized as an area of strong residential concentration and clustering of an ethnic population. The presence of ethnic businesses such as restaurants and retail stores, as well as services that cater to various other needs of area residents, add to the distinct ethnic feel of these enclaves (Ward, 1968, 1971; Sowell, 1981). While ethnic enclaves may be in part an outcome of racism and prejudice (Tchen, 1985 cited in Hayden, 1995; Abrahamson, 1996), they can also be a sustaining force as communities ...

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Chapter 12. The New African Americans: Liberians of War in Minnesota

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pp. 141-154

Landscapes reflect cultural and socioeconomic imprints of the societies that occupy the land. Discernible landscape features give meaning to human-environment interaction over time. Understanding the culture and experiences of the societies that occupy a land leads to better interpretation of any landscape including slightly modified, “nuanced” landscapes. These landscapes must be understood from the perspective of the people who gave them functional and emotional meaning (Tuan, 1979, p. 387). Because America is still open to immigrants, ...

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Chapter 13. The Distribution and Socioeconomic Status of West Indians Living in the United States

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pp. 155-180

In many ways, migration has been a way of life in the West Indies. Like all other areas in the Western Hemisphere, virtually everybody living in the non-Hispanic islands of the Caribbean can trace their origins to someplace else in the world. Even the pre-Colombian Indians, including the Ciboney, Arawaks, and Caribs, came from places outside the Caribbean (West and Augelli, 1989). Thousands of Spanish citizens immigrated to the Caribbean during the 1500s. During the 1600s and 1700s, tens of thousands of Europeans moved to the . . .

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Part III. U.S. Hispanic/Latino Geographies: Changing Spatial Patterns and Their Implications

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pp. 181-182

Section three contains six chapters that present settlement, changing patterns, landscape transformations, settlement experiences, and other issues for Hispanic/Latino populations. Chapter 14 begins with a comprehensive overview of Latino settlement and the growing Hispanic ethnic diversity. It also provides a discussion of various issues of importance to Latino Americans. The next three chapters focus on Latino settlements and particular issues in three large U.S. metropolitan areas. Chapter 15 focuses on the changing Latino settlement patterns . . .

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Chapter 14. Latinos in America: Historical and Contemporary Settlement Patterns

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pp. 183-198

In the year 2000, 35.3 million Latinos were counted by the U.S. Census. An additional 3.8 million Latinos were enumerated in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The Latino population was approximately 12.5 percent of the U.S. total. Latino-Americans now represent the largest single minority population in 21st century America. They constitute many subcultures but are bound together by language and other shared characteristics. Mexicans represented 7.3 percent, Puerto Ricans 1.2 percent, Cubans 0.4 percent, and other Latinos 3.6 percent ...

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Chapter 15. Latinos in New York City: Ethnic Diversity, Changing Settlement Patterns, and Settlement Experiences

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pp. 199-208

Founded in the 1600s by Dutch colonists due to its coastal location, New York City is the “metropolis of the world” and an area of opportunity. As a result, diverse migrants come to this area seeking economic and political stability, and the “American Dream.” Before the 1960s, European ancestries dominated New York City’s foreign-born population, primarily a result of the 1924 National Origins Act, which favored European migrants by restricting non-Europeans through the use of national quotas. However, after 1965, the number of ...

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Chapter 16. Placing Transnational Migration: The Sociospatial Networks of Bolivians in the United States

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pp. 209-220

One of the less appreciated consequences of globalization has been the increase in economic migrants, especially the movements of international laborers. As global capitalism recreates economic space, it inevitably triggers labor movements (both domestic and international). The United Nations Population Division estimated that 185 million people lived outside their country of birth for at least 12 months in 2000, or roughly 2 percent of the world’s population . . .

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Chapter 17. Immigrant Accommodation and Intra-Ethnic Friction: The Case of Mexicans and Mexican Americans in San Antonio

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pp. 221-232

“The Changing Heartland,” the “Hispanic Disapora,” “Tragedy in a Place of Quiet Serenity” are bylines of popular articles that have captured the attention of Americans in the past few years and placed on the map towns such as Morganton and Siler City, North Carolina; Rogers, Arkansas; Dalton, Georgia; Denison, Iowa; and Garden City, Kansas (Foust et al., 2002; Yeoman, 2000; Campo-Flores, 2001; Fountain, 2002; Stull and Broadway, 2004). Latino immigrants, especially Mexicans, have arrived in homogenous rural communities of the Midwest and traditionally...

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Chapter 18. Patterns and Issues in the Latinization of Allentown, Pennsylvania

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pp. 233-250

The Latinization of the United States has become pervasive, affecting nearly all major regions and communities of various sizes. Puerto Ricans, once highly concentrated in New York City neighborhoods, have decentralized within the northeastern U.S. in particular, and have begun to migrate to other regions as well. Because of changes in U.S. immigration policy, these American citizens have been joined by other highly diverse Latino cultural groups in recent decades, including those from the Dominican Republic, Central America, and South America. This chapter ...

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Chapter 19. Population Change in the Texas Panhandle and Resultant Latino Occupational Structures: 1980–2004

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pp. 251-262

The Great Plains of North America was the topic of the cover article in the May 2004 issue of the National Geographic Magazine. It devoted 52 pages to portraying journalistically the environmental consequences of human settlement and the subsequent depopulation of the huge region once called “the Great American Dessert” and later “the Breadbasket of the Continent.” The National Geographic Magazine report builds on these conflicting perceptions to highlight the environmental and economic challenges facing an increasingly . . .

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Part IV. Asian and Pacific-Islander Geographies: Cultural Persistence and Changing Patterns

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pp. 263-264

Section four continues the themes of changing geographic settlement patterns, racial discrimination against minorities, and the infusion of cultural and ethnic meaning into particular places. It illustrates how America’s early Asian immigrants carved their respective niches in spite of racial discrimination. The historical settlement patterns, experiences, and adjustments of the three largest Asian groups in the early 20th century are reviewed in Chapter 20, which also provides contemporary geographies of more recent immigrant Chinese, ...

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Chapter 20. Asians in the United States: Historical and Contemporary Settlement Patterns

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pp. 265-286

The term “Asian” describes a substantial range of cultures spread over thousands of miles of the globe. Even descriptive Asian sub-phrases can be deceiving. For example, “East Asian,” meant to refer to people in one geographic region, actually describes distinctly different cultures separated by the great distance from Pakistan to southern India. Grouping dissimilar cultures into a single class has obvious drawbacks. However, it facilitates addressing three greatly different cultures as Asians in pre-1965 America: the Chinese (who initially ...

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Chapter 21. This Land is My Land: The Role of Place in Native Hawaiian Identity

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pp. 287-300

Some critiques of contemporary geographic growth patterns point out the rise of placelessness across U.S. landscapes. Relph (1976), in a provocative analysis of this phenomenon, argues that place has been a critical foundation of human cognition and identity throughout history. He reviews how contemporary urban and suburban (and most recently, exurban) growth patterns have diminished the unique, historical, and cultural meanings of place to human society today. This point may bring no argument from most Americans, who may ...

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Chapter 22. Little Tokyo: Historical and Contemporary Japanese American Identities

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pp. 301-308

This chapter considers processes that have provided a classic framework of constraints and opportunities for Japanese Americans in Los Angeles. These processes include market capitalism and technological change, racism, and cultural practices. In particular, geographers are interested in how these kinds of economic, social, and cultural processes produce landscapes in various kinds of places. In this case study, we consider Little Tokyo, in Los Angeles, California. This district is a traditional urban ethnic enclave, an area that has many ...

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Chapter 23. The Invisible Immigrants: Asian Indian Settlement Patterns and Racial/Ethnic Identities

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pp. 309-316

Often in vernacular language, all people from the Asian continent are labeled as “Asian.” This taxonomy is a gross overgeneralization of the variation of countries and ethnicities within the vast continent. The Census Bureau defines an Asian as “a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent” (American Fact Finder, 2004). Yet the Asian population living in the United States is a remarkable collection of individuals in terms of their immigration history, settlement patterns...

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Part V. Diversity, Culture, and Place

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pp. 317-318

Previous chapters provided examples of increasing ethnic diversity among U.S. minority populations, expressions of culture and the issues they create, and the creation and re-creation of geographic spaces and places. This final section pursues the interrelationships between these topics. Chapter 24 examines the relationship of land to American-Indian identity. It reports efforts by tribes to reclaim ancestral lands as a symbol of group identity but also considers the interrelation between land and ...

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Chapter 24. Cultural and Economic Change in Indian Country

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pp. 319-328

Signs of American Indian culture have never been more evident than in the first half of the first decade of the 21st century. The grand opening of the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) on September 21st, 2004 in Washington, D.C. reflects the greater national visibility of American Indian culture (Figure 24.1). As the first exclusively Native-American museum in the world, the NMAI showcases the history and culture of more than a thousand tribal and indigenous groups from North, Middle and South America...

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Chapter 25. The Geography of Whiteness: Russian and Ukrainian “Coalitions of Color” in the Pacific Northwest

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pp. 329-338

Whiteness is both a historical construction and a spatial phenomenon. According to Steven Hoelscher, unmasking the processes by which whiteness is enacted and identifying the material consequences of such a construction is the first step toward formulating workable antiracist politics (2003, p. 662). In this chapter, I examine whiteness in the context of the shifting identities and related spatial expressions of a large group of white refugees in a metropolitan area long dominated by a majority white culture.1 ...

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Chapter 26. The Persistence of Greek American Ethnicity among Age Cohorts Under Changing Conditions

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pp. 339-352

The purpose of this chapter is to present the major themes of Greek American ethnicity and to examine their change across generations. Historically, the Greek nation was burdened by a long and tumultuous history, which resulted in a synthesis of the classical Hellenic tradition and Byzantine Orthodoxy. Greek immigrants brought this complex cultural identity to America. Although Greek immigrants made some adjustments and changes within the pluralistic American society, they maintained certain core aspects of the Hellenic cultural triad: language, the family, ...

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Chapter 27. Disparities in Economic Status among Native-Born and Foreign-Born Populations in Paterson, New Jersey

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pp. 353-366

Immigration continues to contribute significantly to the growth of the U.S. population. In the last two decades, about one million immigrants have been admitted every year. Although the number of immigrants has remained high, the source regions have changed. Since the 1960s, the numbers and share of immigrants coming from Latin America, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Africa have increased, while the proportion of immigrants coming from traditional sources in Europe has declined. Like earlier groups, however, recent immigrants are redefining the economic, ...

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Chapter 28. Changes in the Heartland: Emerging Ethnic Patterns in Louisville, KY

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pp. 367-378

One of the pervasive characteristics of contemporary American society is the remarkable increase in international migration to large metropolitan areas. In general, the focus of current research is on these Gateway Cities. The extremely large size of immigrant streams to these cities, along with a few others, justifies these numerous studies. We are able to see the dynamics of immigration written on a large scale: high levels of segregation, contrasting levels of assimilation, the suburbanization of new communities, secondary settlements, the rise of an immigrant...

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Chapter 29. Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Health and Health Care in the U.S.: A Geographic Overview

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pp. 379-392

Recent research efforts to document the nature and scope of health disparities have focused on various segments of the U.S. population by race/ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, language proficiency and geography (Geronimus, 2000; Liao et al., 2004; Kawachi et al., 2005; Moy et al., 2005; and Frist, 2005). By far, the most persistent inequities with potentially ominous consequences for the health of the nation as a whole are those based on the racial/ethnic profile of the population (Carter-Pokras and Woo, 1999; Kingston and Nickens, ...

Works Cited

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pp. 393-422

About the Authors

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pp. 423-426

E-ISBN-13: 9781438436814
E-ISBN-10: 1438436815
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438436807
Print-ISBN-10: 1438436807

Page Count: 444
Illustrations: 26 b/w photographs, 65 tables, 72 figures
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1
Series Title: Global Academic Publishing

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Subject Headings

  • United States -- Race relations -- History -- 20th century
  • United States -- Ethnic relations -- History -- 20th century.
  • Population geography -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Cultural pluralism -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • United States -- Social policy.
  • Landscapes -- Social aspects -- United States.
  • Minorities -- United States.
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