Multiple measures of integration: residential assimilation in the Mexican-origin population of Los Angeles

Susan K. Brown, University of California, Irvine
Frank D. Bean, University of California, Irvine

Immigrants to U.S. metropolitan areas have historically funneled into co-ethnic neighborhoods and slowly fanned outward. But longstanding and heavy immigrant flows can mask this gradual process. Under such conditions, the use of multiple measures of spatial assimilation is critical to interpreting residential dispersion. This paper presents both relative and absolute levels of co-ethnic concentration for Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles to show how young adults can live in neighborhoods with relatively fewer co-ethnics and immigrants than in their childhood even as the absolute proportion of Mexican-Americans and immigrants is rising. It assesses the change between respondents’ neighborhoods over their lifetimes in terms of ethnic composition and educational concentrations. The paper also decomposes that change into the secular part caused by high immigration and the individual-level part caused by moving. It further examines these changes from childhood to adulthood by generation since immigration.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 30: Measuring integration: political debates, scientific and methodological issues