Why Many Baby Boomers Struggle to Embrace Immigration

Seth J. Schwartz
Date of Publication: 
November, 2022
Source Organization: 

Research indicates that, in the United States, people from the Baby Boom generation (born between 1945 and 1964) have among the most negative views of international migration overall (Jones, 2016). But why?

At least some of the answer might be found in Glen Elder's life course theory, which states that people's birth year and generation are among the most important determinants of their life experiences and perspectives. Someone born in 1945, for example, is bound to have had vastly different experiences compared to someone born in 1975 or in 2005.

Between 1880 and 1924, millions of Southern and Eastern European immigrants – Jews, Italians, Poles, Russians, and others – flooded into the United States through New York's Ellis Island. Many large northern U.S. cities – such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Detroit – became heavily populated by these immigrants, and the sounds of foreign languages filled the air in these places. As time passed, these people (and their children) began to spread out from the centers of these cities into their suburbs. The New York City suburbs of Long Island, for example, became heavily Jewish and Italian beginning in the first decades of the 20th century.

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Schwartz, S. (2022, November). Why Many Baby Boomers Struggle to Embrace Immigration. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/proceed-your-own-risk/202211/why...