Measuring Immigrant Assimilation in Post-Recession America

Jacob L. Vigdor
Date of Publication: 
March, 2013
Source Organization: 

Less noticeable economic and cultural differences between the foreign-born and native-born in the U.S. suggest a level of successful immigrant integration never before seen in U.S. history. This report from the Manhattan Institute finds a remarkable "near-disappearance of newly arrived, un-assimilated immigrants from American soil." The fourth in a series of reports gauging immigrant integration, Measuring Immigrant Assimilation in Post-Recession America uses an "assimilation index" comprising economic, cultural and civic factors to measure the degree of similarity or difference between the foreign- and native-born populations in the U.S. Relying on 2010 and 2011 American Community Survey data, it notes a stunning reversal in the traditional pattern where more recently arrived immigrants tend to be less assimilated than long-term immigrants.

Since the 2007 onset of the recession, the report finds that post-recession immigrants were more assimilated than those who arrived prior to it. It also notes that not only has immigration from Mexico, the largest immigrant supply country, dropped significantly but it is now on par with immigrants from Asia, a significant proportion of whom speak English and are high-skilled. Now that comprehensive immigration reform is back on the table, important shifts in U.S. immigration such as these must be considered in crafting relevant, realistic and "forward-looking" policies. The report includes detailed charts showing assimilation indexes for metropolitan areas in the U.S., as well as for immigrants from particular countries of origin.

Measuring Immigrant Assimilation in Post-Recession America: Download or view online

Get more from the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research



Vigdor, J. L. (2013). Measuring Immigrant Assimilation in Post-Recession America. Manhattan Institute for Policy Research: New York. Retrieved from