Lives in Motion: Neighborhood and Social Mobility among Children of Immigrants
My first book manuscript, Lives in Motion, focuses on neighborhood attainment among the immigrant second generation. Whereas prior work has suggested that neighborhood context is a rigid dimension of inequality among native whites and native blacks, my research argues that this assessment often misses the significant upward mobility among the immigrant second generation which constitutes one-eighth of the U.S. population. First, I find evidence for both increasing neighborhood integration for the second generation and persisting neighborhood inequality for the native-born population. Second, when ethnic groups find themselves in similarly disadvantaged neighborhoods, there is heterogeneity in terms of how ethnic groups navigate their neighborhood environments. These differences across ethnic groups are closely linked to school choices and parenting strategies, which vary across second-generation and native groups. As a result, the second generation is less likely to be connected to their neighborhood peers, to be part of neighborhood gangs and to be involved in delinquency, even when they grew up in very poor neighborhoods. Third, the interaction between neighborhood inequality and cultural resources shape different mobility pathways. Ethnic groups not only differ in their understanding of how to live within a neighborhood, but they also have access to different levels of cultural and institutional resources within co-ethnic communities.
Second-Generation Assimilation in the Aftermath of the Great Recession
My other project includes a series of articles on the assimilation of the immigrant second generation in young adulthood in the aftermath of the Great Recession. This project draws on a decade of data from the Current Population Survey, the only national data source that uniquely identifies the second generation. Two papers focus on Latinos, the nation’s largest minority group with a growing and diverse second generation. The first paper, published in International Migration Review, documents a clear second-generation advantage, despite increasing economic insecurity and rising anti-immigrant sentiments. The second paper documents a gendered context of assimilation, with second-generation Latinas reporting better socioeconomic outcomes than their Latino male counterparts. Two additional papers examine the role of hyper-selectivity in shaping Asian racial mobility. The first paper, forthcoming from Russell Sage Foundation Journal of Social Sciences, compares four ethnic groups – Chinese, Cubans, Armenians and Nigerians. This paper shows that the exceptional achievement among second-generation Chinese is the norm among second-generation Asians, contributing to shifting perceptions of “Asian” as a racial category that is upwardly mobile whereas achievement among Cubans and Nigerians are seen as the exception to Latino and Black attainment. A second paper extends this argument to five Asian ethnic groups – Chinese, Indians, Filipinos, Vietnamese and Koreans. One broader paper, forthcoming from The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, documents patterns of achievement across 18 ethnic groups and points to empirical data needs that the U.S. Census can address to enhance future research on immigrant assimilation and intergenerational mobility.
Amsterdam Avenue: Hyper-Gentrification and the Remaking of a Global City
My second book manuscript, Amsterdam Avenue, focuses on the impact of neighborhood gentrification in Manhattan’s West Side from West Chelsea to Inwood in the aftermath of the housing collapse and revival. Drawing on 144 interviews with residents and businesses along Amsterdam Avenue, the book argues that the origin of the current housing affordability crisis in New York City lies in the astronomical and recent rise of luxury real estate as a result of wealth concentration in the hands of the few in hyper-gentrifying neighborhoods, which makes housing increasingly unaffordable to many in the city. More specifically, the project focuses on the following questions: What changes unfolded along Amsterdam Avenue over the last five years? How do local residents and businesses from different backgrounds make sense of them? How do they negotiate the increasing ethno-racial and socioeconomic diversity in their midst? What are the consequences of gentrification and hyper-gentrification for neighborhood social cohesion? What do these changes reveal about broader social and economic transformations in this diverse global city? In addressing these questions, I seek to first provide a detailed description of social life along Amsterdam Avenue and then ask what the transformations within the ten neighborhoods along Amsterdam Avenue reveal about the broader social forces that reshape the urban landscape within this global city.