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Ethnic Concentration, Co-Ethnic Participation: Mexican-American Civic Participation and Destination Context

March 31, 2014 11:00 AM

Authored by Abigail Williams, Trinity College, and presented at the 2013 Fall Research Conference, Ethnic Concentration, Co-Ethnic Participation: Mexican-American Civic Participation and Destination Context analyzes how immigrant civic participation varies with co-ethnic concentration for the largest immigrant ethnic group in the United States. It was part of the session The Wellbeing of Latinos in Traditional and New Destinations and is a featured paper from APPAM's Online Paper Collection.

Mexican immigrants participate more amidst greater concentrations of their own group? Previous studies have offered different theories about the role of ethnic concentration in immigrant participation and produced conflicting findings. While some research suggests that ethnic concentration fosters immigrant participation by reducing linguistic and cultural barriers to participation, others argue that it hinders participation by isolating immigrants among resource-poor peers. Drawing on the insights of spatial assimilation theories, the author predicts that the effects of ethnic concentration on co-ethnic participation will vary with immigrant generation. Employing new questions from the September supplement to the Current Population Survey, she analyzed four types of civic participation using probit models that interact first - generation immigrant status with state-level Latino concentration. In line with predictions, the author finds that for Mexicans/Mexican-Americans as a whole, ethnic concentration is associated with declines in civic participation. In the same analyses, however, ethnic concentration is associated with a differential boost in participation for first-generation Mexican immigrants. Future analyses remain necessary to disentangle whether ethnic concentration or factors associated with it, such as the presence of immigrant-serving institutions, play the crucial role in supporting Mexican immigrant civic participation.

Read the full paper [PDF].

 

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