Out of Context: The Absence of Geographic Variation in U.S. Immigrants' Perceptions of Discrimination

51 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2012 Last revised: 22 May 2015

See all articles by Daniel J. Hopkins

Daniel J. Hopkins

University of Pennsylvania

Jonathan Mummolo

Stanford University, Department of Political Science

Victoria Esses

University of Western Ontario

Cheryl Kaiser

University of Washington - Graduate Department of Psychology

Helen Marrow

Tufts University - School of Arts and Sciences

Monica McDermott

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Date Written: May 20, 2015

Abstract

Immigrants' perceptions of discrimination correlate strongly with various political outcomes, including group consciousness and partisan identity. Here, we examine the hypothesis that immigrants' perceptions of discrimination vary across U.S. localities, as threatened responses by native-born residents may increase perceived discrimination among neighboring immigrants. We also consider the alternative hypothesis that barriers to the expression and detection of discrimination decouple native-born attitudes from immigrants' perceptions about their treatment. We test these claims by analyzing three national surveys of almost 11,000 first-generation Latino, Asian, and Muslim immigrants. The results indicate that immigrants' perceptions of discrimination hardly vary across localities. While anti-immigrant attitudes are known to be geographically clustered, immigrants' perceptions of discrimination prove not to be. This mismatch helps us narrow the potential causes of perceived discrimination, and it suggests the value of further research into perceived discrimination's consequences for immigrants' social and political incorporation.

Keywords: perceived discrimination, immigration, neighborhood effects

Suggested Citation

Hopkins, Daniel J. and Mummolo, Jonathan and Esses, Victoria and Kaiser, Cheryl and Marrow, Helen and McDermott, Monica, Out of Context: The Absence of Geographic Variation in U.S. Immigrants' Perceptions of Discrimination (May 20, 2015). APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2108173 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2108173

Daniel J. Hopkins (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Stiteler Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.danhopkins.org

Jonathan Mummolo

Stanford University, Department of Political Science ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Victoria Esses

University of Western Ontario ( email )

1151 Richmond Street
Suite 2
London, Ontario N6A 5B8
Canada

Cheryl Kaiser

University of Washington - Graduate Department of Psychology ( email )

Seattle, WA
United States

Helen Marrow

Tufts University - School of Arts and Sciences ( email )

Medford, MA
United States

Monica McDermott

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

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