From Immigrants to Americans: The Rise and Fall of Fitting In

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Immigration has always caused immense public concern, especially when the perception is that immigrants are not assimilating into society they way they should, or perhaps the way they once did. Americans are frustrated as they try to order food, hire laborers, or simply talk to someone they see on the street and cannot communicate with them because the person is an immigrant who has not fully adopted American culture or language. But is this truly a modern phenomenon? In From Immigrants to Americans, Jacob Vigdor offers a direct comparison of the experiences of immigrants in the United States from the mid-19th century to the present day. His conclusions are both unexpected and fascinating. Vigdor shows how the varying economic situations immigrants come from has always played an important role in their assimilation. The English language skills of contemporary immigrants are actually quite good compared to the historical average, but those who arrive without knowing English are learning at slower rates. He continues to argue that today’s immigrants face far fewer “incentives” to assimilate and offers a set of assimilation friendly policies. From Immigrants to Americans is an important book for anyone interested in immigration, either the history or the modern implications, or who want to understand why today’s immigrants seem so different from previous generations of immigrants and how much they are the same. Co-published with the Manhattan Institute

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Editorial Reviews

Claremont Review Of Books
Vigdor presents some fascinating empirical findings.
Stephan Thernstrom
Jacob Vigdor's From Immigrants to Americans is a lucid analysis of a central and enduring issue in our society. No other recent study of this subject matches it in economic sophistication and historical depth. It is enriched by an abundant supply of graphs and tables, allowing readers to assess for themselves the evidence upon which the author's interpretations rest.
February 2010 Booklist
This is a fascinating look at immigration as Americans continue to ponder the relative merits of the melting pot versus the salad bowl.
August 2010 CHOICE
Vigdor's balanced analysis is important reading for anyone interested in immigration adaptation in the US.... Highly recommended.
Geroge Borjas
Jacob Vigdor has written a must-read book on immigrant assimilation. The book examines a wide range of issues relating to the assimilation experience. It is sure to become a standard reference in this increasingly important social policy issue.
Claremont Review of Books
Vigdor presents some fascinating empirical findings.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442201361
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/16/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacob L. Vigdor is professor of public policy studies at Duke University.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Chapter 1: An Immigrant's Decision Chapter 3 Chapter 2: A Historical View of Immigration to the United States Chapter 4 Chapter 3: Fitting in Economically Chapter 5 Chapter 4: Fitting in Linguistically Chapter 6 Chapter 5: Fitting in Officially Chapter 7 Chapter 6: Fitting into the Neighborhood Chapter 8 Chapter 7: Joining the Family

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