Legacies: The Story of the Immigrant Second Generation

Legacies: The Story of the Immigrant Second Generation

Legacies: The Story of the Immigrant Second Generation

Legacies: The Story of the Immigrant Second Generation

Synopsis

One out of five Americans, more than 55 million people, are first-or second-generation immigrants. This landmark study, the most comprehensive to date, probes all aspects of the new immigrant second generation's lives, exploring their immense potential to transform American society for better or worse. Whether this new generation reinvigorates the nation or deepens its social problems depends on the social and economic trajectories of this still young population. In Legacies, Alejandro Portes and Rubeacute;n G. Rumbaut--two of the leading figures in the field--provide a close look at this rising second generation, including their patterns of acculturation, family and school life, language, identity, experiences of discrimination, self-esteem, ambition, and achievement. Based on the largest research study of its kind, Legacies combines vivid vignettes with a wealth of survey and school data. Accessible, engaging, and indispensable for any consideration of the changing face of American society, this book presents a wide range of real-life stories of immigrant families--from Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, the Philippines, China, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam--now living in Miami and San Diego, two of the areas most heavily affected by the new immigration. The authors explore the world of second-generation youth, looking at patterns of parent-child conflict and cohesion within immigrant families, the role of peer groups and school subcultures, the factors that affect the children's academic achievement, and much more. A companion volume to Legacies, entitled Ethnicities: Children of Immigrants in America, was published by California in Fall 2001. Edited by the authors of Legacies, this book will bring together some of the country's leading scholars of immigration and ethnicity to provide a close look at this rising second generation. A Copublication with the Russell Sage Foundation

Excerpt

Major events have a way of bursting upon society unawares, their unfolding phases receiving little attention until they are upon us. The major problems that preoccupy society today—the implosion of the inner city, the demise of the traditional family, the drug epidemic—all entered public consciousness after the forces that gave rise to them had become too entrenched to be easily dislodged. A mass of scientific studies and well-meaning policies followed after the fact, usually to no avail.

This book concerns a phenomenon that has not yet moved to center stage but whose transformative potential, for better or worse, is immense. This is the growth of the new second generation spawned by accelerated immigration during the last third of a century. By 1998, fully one-tenth of the U. S. population was foreign born, and in 1999 the number of their U. S.-born children surpassed the prior record set up by children of earlier European immigrants. Already the first and second generations of immigrants and their children total 55 million persons—one out of every five Americans. As in the past, immigration begets ethnicity, and hence the emerging ethnic groups of the twenty-first century will be the offspring of today's immigrants. Whether this new ethnic mosaic reinvigorates the nation or catalyzes a quantum leap in its social problems depends on the forms of social and economic adaptation experienced by this still young population. Unlike their immigrant parents who . . .

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