Race, Origins and Poverty Across Immigrant Generations in the U.S.

Amon Emeka, University of Southern California

The humble origins of many recent immigrants combined with sharp declines in manufacturing jobs and persistent patterns of racial discrimination have led scholars to take pessimistic stances on the future of immigrants in the US. This paper uses 1980 and 2000 US Census data to track the incidence of poverty across two generations of Post-Civil Rights era immigrants and determine whether this pessimism is warranted. Results indicate that the incidence of poverty is high in the first generation but very low in the second. The humble origins of immigrant parents seem not to inhibit the movement of their children out of poverty. However, intergenerational advancement out of poverty is most pronounced for white immigrants and least pronounced for black immigrants leaving black adults of the new second generation more likely than white and other immigrants to experience poverty. Implications of these findings are discussed.

  See paper

Presented in Session 41: Immigrant Generations and Mobility