Transitions to Adulthood in Immigrant America: Barriers and Opportunities

Pastora San Juan Cafferty Lecture on Race and Ethnicity in American Life, University of Chicago, November 1, 2011

44 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2012

See all articles by Rubén G. Rumbaut

Rubén G. Rumbaut

University of California, Irvine - Department of Sociology

Date Written: November 1, 2011

Abstract

Approximately 30 percent of the more than 68 million young adults aged 18 to 34 in the United States today are either foreign born or of foreign parentage. As these newcomers make their transitions to adulthood, their experiences and readiness to progress to adulthood differ significantly from one another, and from their native-parentage counterparts. For many ethnic groups, significant progress takes place from the first to the second generation. But for millions of young immigrants, a lack of legal permanent residency status blocks their prospects for social mobility. Immigrant groups experience gaps in social, economic, and legal status that are even greater than the gaps between native whites and blacks. These social and economic divides reflect three very different ways immigrants enter the country: through regular immigration channels, without legal authorization, or as state-sponsored refugees. Having an undocumented status has become all the more consequential with the failure of Congress to pass comprehensive federal immigration reforms. In the 2011 Pastora Cafferty Lecture on Race and Ethnicity in American Life, professor Rubén G. Rumbaut described how generation, national origin, and the contexts in which they are coming of age in America shape the experiences of these newcomers as they become adults.

Figures and Data Tables are available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2187630

Keywords: Immigration, undocumented immigrants, generations, ethnicity, inequality, mobility, education, work, poverty, family formation, gender, adult transitions

Suggested Citation

Rumbaut, Rubén G., Transitions to Adulthood in Immigrant America: Barriers and Opportunities (November 1, 2011). Pastora San Juan Cafferty Lecture on Race and Ethnicity in American Life, University of Chicago, November 1, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2182128

Rubén G. Rumbaut (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine - Department of Sociology ( email )

3151 Social Sciences Plaza A
Irvine, CA 92697-5100
United States

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