Cultural Assimilation During the Age of Mass Migration

66 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2016 Last revised: 26 Feb 2021

See all articles by Ran Abramitzky

Ran Abramitzky

Stanford University - Department of Economics

Leah Platt Boustan

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics

Katherine Eriksson

University of California, Davis

Date Written: July 2016

Abstract

Using two million census records, we document cultural assimilation during the Age of Mass Migration, a formative period in US history. Immigrants chose less foreign names for children as they spent more time in the US, eventually closing half of the gap with natives. Many immigrants also intermarried and learned English. Name-based assimilation was similar by literacy status, and faster for immigrants who were more culturally distant from natives. Cultural assimilation affected the next generation. Within households, brothers with more foreign names completed fewer years of schooling, faced higher unemployment, earned less and were more likely to marry foreign-born spouses.

Suggested Citation

Abramitzky, Ran and Boustan, Leah Platt and Eriksson, Katherine, Cultural Assimilation During the Age of Mass Migration (July 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22381, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2807692

Ran Abramitzky (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Leah Platt Boustan

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 951477
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1477
United States

Katherine Eriksson

University of California, Davis ( email )

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