Exposing the Underbelly of Black Immigrant Success: Nativity, Ethnicity and Poverty among Black Americans

Amon Emeka, University of Southern California

Much of the social science literature supports journalistic characterizations of Black immigrants as a new “model minority.” In this paper, U.S. Census data is used to identify first and second generation immigrants and compare patterns of intergenerational transmission of poverty across race, nativity, pan-ethnicity, and national origins. It is found that among Blacks 1) poverty is significantly less common among immigrants and their children than it is among those of native ancestry; 2) the incidence of poverty diminishes intra-generationally, but 3) it seems to increase with the passing of generations. African vs. Caribbean origins seem to bear on the likelihood of experiencing poverty—to the detriment of Africans, and there are national origins variations within both groups. Fully specified regression models will assess the relative impacts of race, nativity, pan-ethnicity, national origins, and immigrant communities on the likelihood of experiencing poverty. Results are discussed using segmental assimilation as the theoretical backdrop.

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Presented in Poster Session 6: Migration, Urbanization, Neighborhood and Residential Context