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: Health Rucker C. Johnson

State of the Union 2017: Health

Author: Rucker C. Johnson
Publisher: Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality
Date: 06/2017

Racial and ethnic minorities experience higher-than-average rates of illness, have higher age-specific death rates throughout the life course, and are more likely to suffer from early onset of illnesses and more severe diseases than whites. In this article, I examine these and other differences in health outcomes for whites and blacks in the United States and show that black-white health disparities are large and appear to widen over the life cycle. I also discuss several policy changes that served to narrow racial health disparities in the past and consider how future policies might help ameliorate racial inequities in health.

State of the Union 2017: Incarceration Becky Pettit, Bryan Sykes

State of the Union 2017: Incarceration

Author: Becky Pettit, Bryan Sykes
Publisher: Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality
Date: 06/2017

Despite observed declines in crime and much talk of criminal justice reform, the United States continues to incarcerate a much larger fraction of its population than any other advanced industrialized country. The burden of this intensive incarceration continues to fall disproportionately on black men: At the end of 2015, a full 9.1 percent of young black men (ages 20–34) were incarcerated, a rate that is 5.7 times that of young white men (1.6%). Fully 10 percent of black children had an incarcerated parent in 2015, compared with 3.6 percent of Hispanic children and 1.7 percent of white children.

State of the Union 2017: Education Sean F. Reardon, Erin M. Fahle

State of the Union 2017: Education

Author: Sean F. Reardon, Erin M. Fahle
Publisher: Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality
Date: 06/2017

Between 1990 and 2015, average academic performance improved for students of all racial and ethnic groups, but grew fastest among black and Hispanic students. As a result, white-black and white-Hispanic achievement gaps have declined by 15 to 25 percent. But achievement gaps remain large: Hispanic students lag almost two grade levels, and black students lag roughly two to two-and-a-half grade levels behind whites. Two nonschooling factors—persistent racial and ethnic disparities in family resources and segregation patterns— are fundamental determinants of unequal educational opportunity for minority students. 

State of the Union 2017: Housing Matthew Desmond

State of the Union 2017: Housing

Author: Matthew Desmond
Publisher: Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality
Date: 06/2017
Racial and ethnic gaps in homeownership, housing wealth, and tax expenditures on housing are still very wide. Whereas 71 percent of white families live in owner-occupied housing, only 41 percent of black families and 45 percent of Hispanic families do. Many nonwhite families were excluded from social programs that facilitated dramatic growth in homeownership in the mid-20th century. The ownership gap is related to an affordability gap. Black and Hispanic families are approximately twice as likely as white families to experience “extreme housing costs,” defined as spending at least 50 percent of income on housing. 


State of the Union 2017: Safety Net Mark Duggan, Valerie Scimeca

State of the Union 2017: Safety Net

Author: Mark Duggan, Valerie Scimeca
Publisher: Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality
Date: 06/2017

Given that poverty rates are signicantly higher among blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians than in the general population, it is not surprising that their enrollment in federal safety net programs, such as Medicaid and food stamps, is also higher. However, poor blacks and American Indians are significantly less likely than other racial and ethnic groups to enroll in Medicaid, which is the largest federal safety net program. No similar gap exists for enrollment in the food stamp or Supplemental Security Income programs.

race and ethnicity - CPI Affiliates

Alejandro Portes's picture Alejandro Portes Research Professor of Sociology; Member, Postdoctoral Fellowship Selection Committee, National Academy of Education; Member, Center For Research and Analysis of Migration, University College of London
University of Miami and Princeton University
Kwame Anthony Appiah Professor of Philosophy and Law, New York University; Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy and the University Center for Human Values Emeritus, Princeton University
New York University
Loic Wacquant's picture Loic Wacquant Professor of Sociology; Research Associate, Earl Warren Legal Institute; Researcher, Centre de sociologie europeenne (Paris)
University of California, Berkeley
Marta Tienda's picture Marta Tienda Professor, Maurice P. During '22 Professor in Demographic Studies; Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs; Director, Program in Latino Studies
Princeton University
Nancy Denton's picture Nancy Denton Chair, Department of Sociology; Director, Developmental Core, CSDA; Professor, School of Public Policy, University at Albany, SUNY Professor, Sociology, University at Albany, State University of New York
State University of New York - University at Albany


Race And Ethnicity - Other Research

Title Author Media
On the Move: Changing Mechanisms of Mexico-U.S. Migration Filiz Garip

On the Move: Changing Mechanisms of Mexico-U.S. Migration

Author: Filiz Garip
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Date: 08/2016

Why do Mexicans migrate to the United States? Is there a typical Mexican migrant? Beginning in the 1970s, survey data indicated that the average migrant was a young, unmarried man who was poor, undereducated, and in search of better employment opportunities. This is the general view that most Americans still hold of immigrants from Mexico. On the Move argues that not only does this view of Mexican migrants reinforce the stereotype of their undesirability, but it also fails to capture the true diversity of migrants from Mexico and their evolving migration patterns over time.

Using survey data from over 145,000 Mexicans and in-depth interviews with nearly 140 Mexicans, Filiz Garip reveals a more accurate picture of Mexico-U.S migration. In the last fifty years there have been four primary waves: a male-dominated migration from rural areas in the 1960s and '70s, a second migration of young men from socioeconomically more well-off families during the 1980s, a migration of women joining spouses already in the United States in the late 1980s and ’90s, and a generation of more educated, urban migrants in the late 1990s and early 2000s. For each of these four stages, Garip examines the changing variety of reasons for why people migrate and migrants’ perceptions of their opportunities in Mexico and the United States. 

Looking at Mexico-U.S. migration during the last half century, On the Move uncovers the vast mechanisms underlying the flow of people moving between nations.


International Migration and National Development: From Orthodox Equilibrium to Transnationalism Alejandro Portes

International Migration and National Development: From Orthodox Equilibrium to Transnationalism

Author: Alejandro Portes
Publisher: Sociology of Development
Date: 06/2016

This article reviews theoretical perspectives on migration and development, starting with nineteenth-century political economy theories focused on “colonizing” migrations from England and other European powers and concluding with the emerging literature on immigrant transnationalism and its consequences for sending nations. The general concept of equilibrium has until currently dominated orthodox economic theories of both colonizing and labor migrations from peripheral regions to advanced nations. The counteroffensive, led by Gunnar Myrdal and theorists of the dependency school, centered on the notion of cumulative causation leading to increasing poverty and the depopulation of peripheral sending areas. Both perspectives registered numerous empirical anomalies, stemming from a common view of migration flows as occurring between separate politico-economic entities. An alternative conceptualization of such flows as internal to an overarching global system has improved our understanding of causes and consequences of labor migration and has framed the back-and-forth complexities of these movements captured in the novel notion of transnationalism.

Social Mobility Among Second-Generation Latinos Van C. Tran

Social Mobility Among Second-Generation Latinos

Author: Van C. Tran
Publisher: Contexts
Date: 04/2016

New data shows that Latinos weathered the recession well and are poised to seize opportunities for further social mobility.

Making the Most of Multiple Measures: Disentangling the Effects of Different Dimensions of Race in Survey Research Aliya Saperstein, Jessica M. Kizer, Andrew M. Penner

Making the Most of Multiple Measures: Disentangling the Effects of Different Dimensions of Race in Survey Research

Author: Aliya Saperstein, Jessica M. Kizer, Andrew M. Penner
Publisher: American Behavioral Scientist
Date: 04/2016

The majority of social science research uses a single measure of race when investigating racial inequality. However, a growing body of work demonstrates that race shapes the life chances of individuals in multiple ways, related not only to how people self-identify but also to how others perceive them. As multiple measures of race are increasingly collected and used in survey research, it becomes important to consider the best methods of leveraging such data. We present four analytical approaches for incorporating two different dimensions of race in the same study and illustrate their use with data from the U.S. National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. The approaches range from tests of specific hypotheses to the most exploratory description of how different measures of race relate to social inequality. Although each approach has its strengths and weaknesses, by accounting for the multidimensionality of race, they all allow for more nuanced patterns of advantage and disadvantage than standard single-measure methods.

The Neighborhood Context of Latino Threat Matthew Hall, Maria Krysan

The Neighborhood Context of Latino Threat

Author: Matthew Hall, Maria Krysan
Publisher: Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
Date: 04/2016

In recent years, the size of the Latino immigrant population has swelled in communities throughout the United States. For decades, social scientists have studied how social context, particularly a minority group’s relative size, affects the sentiments of the dominant group. Using a random sample survey of five communities in suburban Chicago, the authors examine the impact of Latino population concentration on native-born white residents’ subjective perceptions of threat from Latino immigrants at two micro-level geographies: the immediate block and the surrounding blocks. After controlling for Latino population size in surrounding blocks, percentage Latino in the immediate block does not influence perceptions of threat from Latino immigrants. The effect of surrounding blocks’ population size is consistent with group threat theories for white residents: the larger the Latino population, the greater the perceived threat.

Race And Ethnicity - Multimedia

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