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particular—it follows that immigrants would be expected to have higher incarceration rates than natives. And immigrant Mexican men—who comprise fully a third of all immigrant men between eighteen and thirty-four—would be expected to have the highest rates. The results, however, turn those expectations on their head. Here data from the 5 percent PUMS (Public Use Microdata Sample) of the 2000 census are used to measure the institutionalization rates of immigrants and natives, focusing on males eighteen to thirty-four, among whom the vast majority of the institutionalized are in correctional facilities (Rumbaut 2005). Nationally, the incarceration rate of U.S.-born males (3.5 percent) was five times the rate of the foreign-born (0.7 percent). The latter, in turn, was well below the 1.7 percent rate for non-Hispanic white natives and nine times less than the incarceration rate for native black men. The advantage for immigrants vis-à-vis natives is observed for every ethnic group—with the sole exception of Puerto Ricans, who are not immigrants since they have birthright citizenship, for whom the rates between the island born and the mainland born are almost identical. All of the Asian immigrant groups have lower incarceration rates than the Latin American groups, with the sole exception of the foreign-born Laotians and Cambodians, whose rate of 0.9 percent is still well below that for non-Hispanic white natives. The lowest incarceration rates among Latin American immigrants are seen for the least educated groups: the Salvadorans and Guatemalans (0.5 percent) and the Mexicans (0.7 percent). However, those rates increase significantly for their U.S.-born co-ethnics. That is most notable for the Mexicans, whose incarceration rate increases to 5.9 percent among the U.S.-born; for the Vietnamese, whose rate increases from 0.5 percent among the foreign-born to almost 6 percent among the U.S.-born; and for the Laotians and Cambodians, whose rate moves up to more than 7 percent, the highest of any groups except for native blacks. The risk of imprisonment is clearly highest for native-born young men who are high school dropouts. Among the U.S.-born, almost 10 percent of all male dropouts were in jail or prison in 2000, compared to 2.2 percent among those who had graduated from high school. But among the foreign-born, the incarceration gap by education was much narrower: only 1.3 percent of immigrant men who were high school dropouts were incarcerated, compared to 0.6 percent of those with at least a high school diploma. The advantage for immigrants held when broken down by education for every ethnic group (a main exception were island-born Puerto Rican dropouts, whose incarceration rate was above 10 percent)—indeed, for every group, the longer immigrants had resided in the United States, the higher were their incarceration rates. Among U.S.-born men 28 Rubén G. Rumbaut who had not finished high school, the highest incarceration rate by far was seen among non-Hispanic blacks, 22 percent of whom were imprisoned at the time of the census; that rate was triple the 7 percent among foreign-born black dropouts. The finding that incarceration rates are much lower among immigrant men than the national norm, despite their lower levels of education and greater poverty, but increase significantly among the second generation, suggests that the process of Americanization can lead to downward mobility and greater risk of involvement with the criminal justice system for a significant segment of this population. Conclusions and Implications The infusion of young Hispanics into the United States is a potentially positive development, slowing the nation’s overall population aging while partially offsetting the rising burden of dependency of an aging majority—what can be seen as a demographic dividend (see Tienda and Mitchell 2006). As Marta Tienda and her colleagues observe in a report of the National Research Council on the Hispanic population of the United States, in 1960 less than 10 percent of the total U.S. population was of retirement age or older, compared with less than 3 percent of the Hispanic population. Today these proportions are 15 percent and 5 percent, respectively. A generation from now—by 2030, when most of the surviving baby boomers will have retired—about 25 percent of non-Hispanic white Americans will have reached retirement age or beyond, compared with only 10 percent of Hispanics—just when the burgeoning Hispanic second...


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MARC Record
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