Spatial Assimilation and Neighborhood Transitions

Vanesa Estrada, University of California, Los Angeles

Spatial Assimilation posits that immigrants tend to live in ethnic enclaves (usually less desirable places with high concentrations of immigrants) due to financial, social and cultural capital constraints but are motivated to move to better neighborhoods as they become assimilated to American life and economically successful. While this model fits closely with the settlement patterns of European immigrants at the turn of the 20th century, scholars have argued that current immigrant experiences differ. This paper uses an event history analysis of the mobility patterns of a sample of adults from Los Angeles County to analyze their transition rates to and from different types of neighborhoods and examine the factors which affect these transitions. I hope to engage a number of questions which have been raised in the assimilation literature regarding the viability of spatial assimilation and alternative models for explaining the spatial patterns of current first and second generation immigrant families.

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Presented in Session 43: Race, Assimilation, and Housing