Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Behind the contentious politics of immigration lies the question of how well new immigrants are becoming part of American society. To address this question, Inheriting the City draws on the results of a ground-breaking study of young adults of immigrant parents in metropolitan New York to provide a comprehensive look at their social, economic, cultural, and political lives. Inheriting the City examines five immigrant groups to disentangle the complicated question of how they are faring relative to native-born groups, and how achievement differs between and within these groups. While some experts worry that these young adults would not do as well as previous waves of immigrants due to lack of high-paying manufacturing jobs, poor public schools, and an entrenched racial divide, Inheriting the City finds that the second generation is rapidly moving into the mainstream—speaking English, working in jobs that resemble those held by native New Yorkers their age, and creatively combining their ethnic cultures and norms with American ones. Far from descending into an urban underclass, the children of immigrants are using immigrant advantages to avoid some of the obstacles that native minority groups cannot.