Inheriting the City
The Children of Immigrants Come of Age
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
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1. Introduction: Inheriting the City
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Immigration is squarely on the American political agenda. With the influx of migrants continuing at high levels, it is destined to remain there. Although its salience as an issue may rise and fall, immigration poses fundamental questions about what it means to be an American and whether the...
2. The Worlds of the Fathers and Mothers
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The story of the second generation begins with the parents’ journey to New York. These first generation immigrants faced struggles, found jobs, formed families, settled in neighborhoods, and were received by native New Yorkers in ways that all set the stage for their children’s lives. Here, we draw on the...
3. Ethnic Identities
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One need not dig far in New York City to find ethnicity in all its dramatic complexity. The city has always served as an immigrant gateway to America, and three-fifths of its population are now immigrants or their children. Ethnicity is woven into the fabric of everyday life. Encounters...
4. Family and Neighborhood Origins
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Most people would agree that one’s family has an enormous impact on one’s formative years and often provides important resources later in life. Debate arises, however, about exactly which aspects of family background have what effects on a family’s children under what circumstances. Contemporary families certainly face vastly different circumstances than those...
5. The School System as Sorting Mechanism
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Educational attainment increasingly determines the opportunities open to young people. Although a few young people in metropolitan New York manage to find skilled blue collar jobs, often through family connections, most need a college degree to qualify for a position that offers a decent...
6. The Second Generation Goes to Work
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Few aspects of contemporary migration to the United States have received as much attention as the role of immigrants in the economy and labor market. When asked about what motivated their parents’ decision to leave their homeland, the young people we spoke to recounted many complicated...
7. Forming New Families
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The timing of marriage and childbearing in the United States and the relations between men and women have changed a great deal since the 1960s. Scholars agree that the transition to adulthood has become an increasingly complex and messy affair (Furstenberg et al. 2005). Many...
8. Cultural Matters
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Studies of the assimilation of the children and grandchildren of European immigrants in the twentieth century often assumed that upward mobility and Americanization went hand in hand. The more successful members of the ethnic group were the most American not only in terms of their...
9. Civic and Political Engagement
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Politics looms large in the literature on how late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century immigrants became Americans. Scholars of that period took it for granted that participating in protest movements, joining labor unions and civic organizations, voting, running candidates, and winning...
10. Race, Prejudice, and Discrimination
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Since the resumption of mass immigration in the late 1960s, the United States has incorporated tens of millions of new immigrants, the large majority of whom are non-European. Being neither unambiguously “white,” in the way that term had come to be used in late twentieth-century...
11. Conclusion: The Second Generation Advantage
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Our research was initially motivated by worries about second generation decline. Like many other social scientists, we were concerned that the children of recent immigrants might be at risk of downward assimilation as they become Americans. We feared that many would earn less than their...
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A pilot study to test the feasibility of surveying the second generation in New York began in July 1996 with funding from the Russell Sage Foundation. Any such survey faces the immediate challenge of deciding whether to sample a cross section of the whole second generation, which...
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Page Count: 432
Publication Year: 2009