American Immigration Policy, a Reappraisal

By William S. Bernard; Carolyn Zeleny et al. | Go to book overview

6
Indices of Adjustment I: Occupational Adjustment, the Immigrant and the Law, Education, and Health

The most impartial method of judging immigrant adjustment is through an objective study of those crucial areas where acceptance of American standards is considered essential. We can examine the record of the immigrant through the use of indices culled from the most relevant statistics available. In the present chapter we shall assess the adjustment of immigrants in the fields of occupational adjustment, adherence to law, education, and health; in the chapter which follows we shall consider their adjustment in the areas of family life, intermarriage, citizenship, and loyalty.


Occupational Adjustment

If the immigrant is to make a satisfactory adjustment to American life he must first succeed in earning a living. Since the desire to better himself economically has been one of his prime motives in coming here, it is to be expected that he should make zealous efforts to achieve economic success. Indeed, the immigrant in the past has been accused not of economic failure but rather of undue eagerness to succeed. Under the disorganized conditions resulting from the tremendous growth of the American economy from 1890 up to the First World War, it is not surprising that immigrants were sometimes working for substandard wages and under sub- standard conditions. With the passage of time, however, social

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