Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration

  • C. Matthew Snipp
  • Tomas Jimenez
  • Linda Burton
  • Hazel Markus
  • Douglas Massey
  • Marybeth Mattingly

Leaders: Linda Burton, Tomás Jiménez, Hazel Markus, Douglas Massey, Marybeth Mattingly, C. Matthew Snipp

The CPI has an extensive research program on race, ethnicity, immigration, and poverty. The National Poverty Study, for example, is designed to rigorously compare differences across rural black, deindustrialized, reservation, and other “racialized” poverty forms. The CPI also runs a comprehensive program on Hispanic poverty that explores such topics as the “chilling effect” of anti-immigrant laws on program use, the reasons why, contrary to much speculation, the Hispanic poverty rate has not taken off, and the causes of the so-called Hispanic Health Paradox (see, for example, our Pathways Magazine special report on poverty, inequality, and mobility among Hispanics). And one of the CPI’s most distinguished affiliates, Jennifer Eberhardt (who is on the CPI directorate), is carrying out a groundbreaking big-data analysis of policing and race. We list below a sampling of other CPI projects on race, ethnicity, immigration, and poverty.

Poverty among refugees: The U.S. refugee population faces very high rates of poverty, yet we know very little about the effects of different resettlement programs and approaches. There are efforts afoot to exploit available administrative data and begin to find out what works and what doesn’t.

Arrests, race, and poverty: Why are some arrests resolved informally while others are converted into a criminal record that then has a life-long scarring effect? The process of converting an arrest into a criminal booking may play an important role in generating downstream racial disparities.

Reducing the race gap in test scores: The new Stanford Education Data Archive (SEDA) is a rich resource that is providing the most systematic evidence to date on the capacity of school-district policies to reduce the racial gap in test scores.

Poverty and schooling on reservations: Why are test scores and educational outcomes on Native reservations so low (relative to the national average)? In a new project by the noted ethnographer Martin Sánchez-Jankowski, we’ll be learning more about how traditional and formal education are viewed and the ways in which they might be better integrated. 

Race And Ethnicity - CPI Research

Title Author Media
State of the Union 2017: Employment Michael Hout

State of the Union 2017: Employment

Author: Michael Hout
Publisher: Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality
Date: 06/2017

Full recovery from the job losses of the Great Recession eluded African-American men even as the rest of the population approached full employment. Job loss can also unsettle those who haven’t lost their jobs. 1 in 9 African-Americans and 1 in 6 Hispanic Americans fear a job loss within one year, while just 1 in 18 whites do.

Polluting Black Space Bonam, Courtney M., Bergsieker, Hilary B., Eberhardt, Jennifer L.

Polluting Black Space

Author: Bonam, Courtney M., Bergsieker, Hilary B., Eberhardt, Jennifer L.
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Date: 11/2016

Social psychologists have long demonstrated that people are stereotyped on the basis of race. Researchers have conducted extensive experimental studies on the negative stereotypes associated with Black Americans in particular. Across 4 studies, we demonstrate that the physical spaces associated with Black Americans are also subject to negative racial stereotypes. Such spaces, for example, are perceived as impoverished, crime-ridden, and dirty (Study 1). Moreover, these space-focused stereotypes can powerfully influence how connected people feel to a space (Studies 2a, 2b, and 3), how they evaluate that space (Studies 2a and 2b), and how they protect that space from harm (Study 3). Indeed, processes related to space-focused stereotypes may contribute to social problems across a range of domains—from racial disparities in wealth to the overexposure of Blacks to environmental pollution. Together, the present studies broaden the scope of traditional stereotyping research and highlight promising new directions.

Police Violence and Citizen Crime Reporting in the Black Community Matthew Desmond, Andrew V. Papachristos, David S. Kirk

Police Violence and Citizen Crime Reporting in the Black Community

Author: Matthew Desmond, Andrew V. Papachristos, David S. Kirk
Publisher: American Sociological Review
Date: 09/2016

High-profile cases of police violence—disproportionately experienced by black men—may present a serious threat to public safety if they lower citizen crime reporting. Using an interrupted time series design, this study analyzes how one of Milwaukee’s most publicized cases of police violence against an unarmed black man, the beating of Frank Jude, affected police-related 911 calls. Controlling for crime, prior call patterns, and several neighborhood characteristics, we find that residents of Milwaukee’s neighborhoods, especially residents of black neighborhoods, were far less likely to report crime after Jude’s beating was broadcast. The effect lasted for over a year and resulted in a total net loss of approximately 22,200 calls for service. Other local and national cases of police violence against unarmed black men also had a significant impact on citizen crime reporting in Milwaukee. Police misconduct can powerfully suppress one of the most basic forms of civic engagement: calling 911 for matters of personal and public safety.

Home, heart, and being Latina: Housing and intimate relationship power among low-income Mexican mothers Whitney Welsh, Linda Burton

Home, heart, and being Latina: Housing and intimate relationship power among low-income Mexican mothers

Author: Whitney Welsh, Linda Burton
Publisher: Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
Date: 07/2016

The authors examine an emergent association between low-income Mexican mothers’ control of housing and power relations in their romantic unions. Guided by valued resource theory, and mothers’ lived racial, ethnic, and gender experiences of navigating access to housing and sustaining intimate unions, the authors used secondary longitudinal ethnographic data on 29 low-income mothers of Mexican descent as exemplar cases to explore (1) mothers’ housing dependencies as they transitioned from their natal homes to coresidential housing with romantic partners, (2) the factors that differentially shaped mothers’ housing options, and (3) how mothers’ control of housing procurement influenced their intimate relationship power. The findings suggest that mothers followed one of five housing dependency pathways, with 25 percent securing housing independently. Most traversed complex and transient levels of dependence on their partners for housing with immigrants and native-born Mexican Americans evincing nuanced differences in their relationship power depending on their housing situations. In most cases, regardless of their national origin (Mexico or the U.S.), mothers’ control of housing procurement directly corresponded to increased relationship power. The importance of considering the impact of race/ethnicity on housing and women’s power in Latino families in future research is also discussed.

Twenty-First-Century Globalization and Illegal Migration Katharine M. Donato, Douglas S. Massey

Twenty-First-Century Globalization and Illegal Migration

Author: Katharine M. Donato, Douglas S. Massey
Publisher: Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Date: 07/2016

Also labeled undocumented, irregular, and unauthorized migration, illegal migration places immigrants in tenuous legal circumstances with limited rights and protections. We argue that illegal migration emerged as a structural feature of the second era of capitalist globalization, which emerged in the late twentieth century and was characterized by international market integration. Unlike the first era of capitalist globalization (1800 to 1929), the second era sees countries limiting and controlling international migration and creating a global economy in which all markets are globalized except for labor and human capital, giving rise to the relatively new phenomenon of illegal migration. Yet despite rampant inequalities in wealth and income between nations, only 3.1 percent of all people lived outside their country of birth in 2010. We expect this to change: threat evasion is replacing opportunity seeking as a motivation for international migration because of climate change and rising levels of civil violence in the world’s poorer nations. The potential for illegal migration is thus greater now than in the past, and more nations will be forced to grapple with growing populations in liminal legal statuses.

race and ethnicity - CPI Affiliates

Patrick Sharkey's picture Patrick Sharkey Associate Professor of Sociology; Associate Professor of Public Service, NYU Wagner
New York University
Van C. Tran's picture Van C. Tran Assistant Professor of Sociology
Columbia University
Edna Bonacich Professor Emeritus (Sociology and Ethnic Studies)
University of California, Riverside
Emily Hannum's picture Emily Hannum Professor of Sociology and Education; Associate Director, Population Studies Center
Univerisity of Pennsylvania
James Sidanius's picture James Sidanius John Lindsley Professor of Psychology in memory of William James and of African and African American Studies
Harvard University


Race And Ethnicity - Other Research

Title Author Media
Racial Disparities in Child Adversity in the U.S.: Interactions With Family Immigration History and Income Slopen N, Shonkoff JP, Albert MA, Yoshikawa H, Jacobs A, Stoltz R, Williams DR

Racial Disparities in Child Adversity in the U.S.: Interactions With Family Immigration History and Income

Author: Slopen N, Shonkoff JP, Albert MA, Yoshikawa H, Jacobs A, Stoltz R, Williams DR
Publisher: American Journal of Preventive Medicine
Date: 01/2016


Childhood adversity is an under-addressed dimension of primary prevention of disease in children and adults. Evidence shows racial/ethnic and socioeconomic patterning of childhood adversity in the U.S., yet data on the interaction of race/ethnicity and SES for exposure risk is limited, particularly with consideration of immigration history. This study examined racial/ethnic differences in nine adversities among children (from birth to age 17 years) in the National Survey of Child Health (2011-2012) and determined how differences vary by immigration history and income (N=84,837).


We estimated cumulative adversity and individual adversity prevalences among white, black, and Hispanic children of U.S.-born and immigrant parents. We examined whether family income mediated the relationship between race/ethnicity and exposure to adversities, and tested interactions (analyses conducted in 2014-2015).


Across all groups, black and Hispanic children were exposed to more adversities compared with white children, and income disparities in exposure were larger than racial/ethnic disparities. For children of U.S.-born parents, these patterns of racial/ethnic and income differences were present for most individual adversities. Among children of immigrant parents, there were few racial/ethnic differences for individual adversities and income gradients were inconsistent. Among children of U.S.-born parents, the Hispanic-white disparity in exposure to adversities persisted after adjustment for income, and racial/ethnic disparities in adversity were largest among children from high-income families.


Simultaneous consideration of multiple social statuses offers promising frameworks for fresh thinking about the distribution of disease and the design of targeted interventions to reduce preventable health disparities.

Cohabitation in China: Trends and Determinants Jia Yu, Yu Xie

Cohabitation in China: Trends and Determinants

Author: Jia Yu, Yu Xie
Publisher: Population and Development Review
Date: 12/2015

Using recent, nationally representative data, we examine the prevalence and social determinants of premarital cohabitation, an important sign of the Second Demographic Transition (SDT) in China. Descriptive results show that although only about 7 percent of Chinese adults born before 1980 cohabited before first marriage, cohabitation has grown sharply among recent birth cohorts. Based on the theoretical perspectives of “ideational change” and “economic development,” we conduct multivariate analyses of social determinants of cohabitation that may reveal potential mechanisms of its diffusion. We find that greater exposure to Western culture, higher educational attainment for men, and more advantaged family background were all positively related to premarital cohabitation. Our results also show the influence of a unique social institution in China, with Communist Party members less likely than their counterparts to cohabit before first marriage. Broadly speaking, the positive association between economic development and local rates of premarital cohabitation suggests the transformative influence of modernization on family systems.

Compounded Deprivation in the Transition to Adulthood: The Intersection of Racial and Economic Inequality Among Chicagoans, 1995–2013 Kristin L. Perkins, Robert J. Sampson

Compounded Deprivation in the Transition to Adulthood: The Intersection of Racial and Economic Inequality Among Chicagoans, 1995–2013

Author: Kristin L. Perkins, Robert J. Sampson
Publisher: RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences
Date: 11/2015

This paper investigates acute, compounded, and persistent deprivation in a representative sample of Chicago adolescents transitioning to young adulthood. Our investigation, based on four waves of longitudinal data from 1995 to 2013, is motivated by three goals. First, we document the prevalence of individual and neighborhood poverty over time, especially among whites, blacks, and Latinos. Second, we explore compounded deprivation, describing the extent to which study participants are simultaneously exposed to individual and contextual forms of deprivation—including material deprivation (such as poverty) and social-organizational deprivation (for example, low collective efficacy)—for multiple phases of the life course from adolescence up to age thirty-two. Third, we isolate the characteristics that predict transitions out of compounded and persistent poverty. The results provide new evidence on the crosscutting adversities that were exacerbated by the Great Recession and on the deep connection of race to persistent and compounded deprivation in the transition to adulthood.

Judging Dream Keepers: Latino Assessments of Schools and Educators Angel Luis Molina Jr, Francisco I. Pedraza

Judging Dream Keepers: Latino Assessments of Schools and Educators

Author: Angel Luis Molina Jr, Francisco I. Pedraza
Publisher: Politics, Groups, and Identities
Date: 11/2015

There is consensus among scholars, policy experts, and ordinary Latinos that a Latino education crisis exists, and that education is the primary vehicle for achieving the American Dream. Yet we know surprisingly little about what predicts Latinos’ views of the bureaucrats and organizations charged with translating their educational hopes into reality. This study links disparate literatures to provide theory and evidence about how group features and elements of citizen-bureaucracy relations explain Latinos’ judgments of schools and their assessments of contact with school officials. Using the 2006 Latino National Survey, we find that nativity, acculturation, and discrimination undermine positive evaluations. Our results also indicate that some of these negative associations might be countered with Latino-salient outreach, including providing school-relevant information in Spanish language.

Stress, Place, and Allostatic Load Among Mexican Immigrant Farmworkers in Oregon McClure HH, Josh Snodgrass J, Martinez CR Jr, Squires EC, Jiménez RA, Isiordia LE, Eddy JM, McDade TW, Small J

Stress, Place, and Allostatic Load Among Mexican Immigrant Farmworkers in Oregon

Author: McClure HH, Josh Snodgrass J, Martinez CR Jr, Squires EC, Jiménez RA, Isiordia LE, Eddy JM, McDade TW, Small J
Publisher: Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Date: 10/2015

Cumulative exposure to chronic stressors has been shown to contribute to immigrants' deteriorating health with more time in US residence. Few studies, however, have examined links among common psychosocial stressors for immigrants (e.g., acculturation-related) and contexts of immigrant settlement for physical health. The study investigated relationships among social stressors, stress buffers (e.g., family support), and allostatic load (AL)--a summary measure of physiological "wear and tear"--among 126 adult Mexican immigrant farm workers. Analyses examined social contributors to AL in two locales: (1) White, English-speaking majority sites, and (2) a Mexican immigrant enclave. Our six-point AL scale incorporated immune, cardiovascular, and metabolic measures. Among men and women, older age predicted higher AL. Among women, lower family support related to higher AL in White majority communities only. Findings suggest that Latino immigrants' cumulative experiences in the US significantly compromise their health, with important differences by community context.

Race And Ethnicity - Multimedia

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