Spatial Assimilation despite "Hypersegregation": The Mexican-Origin Population in Los Angeles

Susan K. Brown, University of California, Irvine

Immigrants to U.S. metropolitan areas have historically funneled into co-ethnic neighborhoods and slowly fanned outward. But longstanding and heavy immigrant flows can mask the gradual process of immigrants dispersing. This paper presents both relative and absolute levels of co-ethnic concentration for Mexican Americans in Los Angeles to show how young adults can live in neighborhoods with relatively fewer co-ethnics and immigrants than in their childhood even as the proportion of Mexican Americans and immigrants is rising. It assesses the change between respondents’ neighborhoods over their lifetimes in terms of ethnic and immigrant composition and cultural (linguistic) concentrations. The paper also decomposes that change into the secular part caused by high immigration and the individual-level part caused by moving. It further examines these changes from childhood to adulthood by generation since immigration.

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Presented in Session 16: Residential Segregation in a Multiethnic Society