WCPC Second Generation Conference

Local Contexts and the Prospects for Second Generation Immigrants

Presented October 19-20, 2006

The West Coast Poverty Center’s inaugural research conference, "Local Contexts and the Prospects for Second Generation Immigrants", was one of the first multi-disciplinary efforts to address issues of local context in the economic and social progress of second-generation immigrants.

The conference aimed to foster a critical dialog around such important issues as:

  • The processes through which different immigrant and second generation groups selectively migrate and build communities within certain geographic locations, both metropolitan and non-metropolitan.
  • The responsiveness of the second generation to economic opportunities in locations outside areas of traditional immigrant settlement and the effect of immigrant and second generation enclaving, or spatial concentration, at neighborhood, city, and state scales on social, economic, and political outcomes.
  • Aspects of local context that are most critical to the inter-generation progression process, e.g. the role of the social safety net provided by government programs, the health care system, the structure and resources within the local educational system, and community, civic and religious organizations.
  • Methodological issues embedded in the array of plausible interactions between place and group that influence the prospects for the second generation.
  • The ways in which the current state of assimilation theory is adequate to the task of accommodating the interaction of group, period and place effects.

The conference was organized by Mark Ellis, Professor of Geography, Gunnar Almgren, Associate Professor of Social Work, Charles Hirschman, Boeing International Professor, Department of Sociology and Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, and Marcia K. Meyers, Professor of Social Work and Public Affairs.

Highlights of the conference were published in WCPC's special summer Poverty Research Flash, July-August 2008.  The final conference papers have been published in a special issue of the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Vol. 35, No. 7, in August 2009.