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Immigrants and the American Dream : Remaking the Middle Class - William A. V. Clark

Immigrants and the American Dream

Remaking the Middle Class

Hardcover

Published: 6th June 2003
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The United States has absorbed nearly 10 million immigrants in the past decade. This book examines who the new immigrants are, where they live, and who among them are gaining entry into the American middle class. Discussed are the complex factors that promote or hinder immigrant success, as well as the varying opportunities and constraints met by those living in particular regions. Extensive data are synthesized on key dimensions of immigrant achievement: income level, professional status, and rates of homeownership and political participation. Also provided is a balanced analysis of the effects of immigration on broader socioeconomic, geographic, and political trends. Examining the extent to which contemporary immigrants are realizing the American dream, this book explores crucial policy questions and challenges that face our diversifying society.

"In Immigrants and the American Dream, Clark eschews the well-trod intellectual paths that lead in one direction to a facile celebration of American exceptionalism and in the other to a bleak pessimism concerning the rigidities of American racism. His realist account of contemporary mobility opportunities challenges much existing scholarship about the new immigration. This book opens the way to an appreciation of the complexities of immigrant incorporation at the beginning of the 21st century."--Richard Alba, Department of Sociology, University at Albany, State University of New York

"Immigrants and the American Dream presents compelling evidence that most immigrants are adapting slowly but successfully to this country. Clark's analyses of recent economic and social data are done with great care and thought, and he discusses fully the inconsistencies and complexities in his findings. The most persuasive, authoritative, and comprehensive book yet on this important topic."--James P. Allen, Department of Geography, California State University, Northridge

"Clark gives us a preview of the future of the American middle class (an eighth of which is already composed of immigrant households), as well as a report on how immigrants are doing in the economy and the polity. He makes deft use of a wide range of techniques and perspectives: the cohort approach of the demographer, the sense of place and spatial variation of the geographer, and the journalist's appreciation for an illustrative story. The book deals with a range of questions about immigrant 'incorporation'--the issues of assimilation that will shape American society--without getting bogged down in the normative arguments about who should assimilate to whom. Readers are cured of the temptation to generalize about the immigrant experience in modern America: different groups in different states are making the transition at very different speeds. Because post-1965 immigration so profoundly affects the whole landscape, this book will be a useful addition to courses in economics, sociology, and postwar U.S. history, not just immigration studies narrowly conceived."--John Haaga, Domestic Programs, Population Reference Bureau, Washington, DC

"Clark offers a timely look at how the latest 'new Americans' realize the promise of an open society. He charts the pathways and personal attainments of contemporary immigrants joining the middle class, as well as the distinctive experiences of particular ethnic groups. By updating our understanding of today's fluid class structure, the book is a natural addition to courses on contemporary American society. For home builders, advertisers, and others who would target this emerging market segment, Clark's exhaustive analysis of census data furnishes useful insights into this expanding new generation of middle-class consumers."--Peter A. Morrison, Labor and Population Program, RAND

"Arguments over immigration often diverge into simple binary accounts of whether or not immigrants will 'make it.' Clark develops a cautiously optimistic median position, describing varying middle-class possibilities for U.S. newcomers. Carefully analyzing recent data on country of origin, location, occupation, homeownership, and other factors, Clark finds that a surprisingly large number of immigrants are attaining a middle-class life. Through this account, he joins a growing group of scholars who are rethinking immigrant assimilation processes in the United States. The writing is clear and the illustrations are elegant. This book is essential reading for immigration scholars and researchers interested in class formation."--Richard A. Wright, Department of Geography, Dartmouth College

List of Figures and Tablesp. vii
Prefacep. xiii
Immigration and the American Dreamp. 1
Dreams and the Paths to Successp. 4
Defining the Dreamp. 6
The American Dream and the New Immigrantsp. 10
Viewing the Present through the Pastp. 14
Trajectories of Successp. 17
Transformation of Places: A New Societyp. 21
Reconsidering the Dreamp. 25
Immigrants in the United States: Numbers, Flows, and Policiesp. 29
Profile of the Foreign Bornp. 31
Where the Foreign Born Livep. 37
Age Distributions and Family Growthp. 40
Socioeconomic Status and Human Capitalp. 46
Policies, Immigrant Flows, and Global Connectionsp. 53
Observations and Implicationsp. 56
Making It in America: The Foreign-Born Middle Classp. 60
Defining the Middle Classp. 62
Becoming Middle Classp. 63
Evidence from Cohort Changesp. 70
Clues from Changing Generationsp. 76
What Does It Take to Become Middle Class?p. 77
Outcomes in Regions and Communitiesp. 80
Timing and Economic Contextsp. 89
Summary and Observationsp. 91
Entering the Professionsp. 94
The Context of Upward Occupational Mobilityp. 95
The Changing U.S. Labor Forcep. 98
The Evidence for Professional Advancep. 104
Regional Variationsp. 113
Professional Patterns by Ethnicity and Genderp. 115
Summary and Observationsp. 122
Reaching for Homeownershipp. 126
Homeownership in the United Statesp. 128
Trajectories to Homeownershipp. 131
Outcomes: Homeownership Rates and Patternsp. 137
Housing Market Effects on Homeownershipp. 145
Suburbanization and Spatial Assimilationp. 155
Who Owns?: Explanations of Success in the Homeowner Marketp. 158
Conclusions and Observationsp. 159
Voicing Allegiancep. 163
Naturalization and Assimilationp. 164
The Context of Assimilation and Citizenshipp. 167
Naturalization and Becoming Americanp. 170
Naturalization Rates and Explanationsp. 174
Political Representation, Immigrant Enclaves, and the Politics of Spacep. 185
Observations and Conclusionsp. 191
Joining a Divided Society?p. 194
Inequality and Its Outcomesp. 197
Progress and Inequalityp. 200
Conclusionsp. 206
Reinventing the Middle Class: Paths to the Futurep. 208
People and Placesp. 210
Constraints and Barriersp. 215
Population Growth and the Futurep. 219
Concluding Observationsp. 221
Data and Data Sourcesp. 225
Bibliographyp. 231
Indexp. 247
About the Authorp. 254
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781572308800
ISBN-10: 157230880X
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 254
Published: 6th June 2003
Publisher: Guilford Publications
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.49