Ethnic Concentration and Nonprofit Organizations: The Political and Urban Geography of Immigrant Services in Boston, Massachusetts



This article considers the geographic distribution of nonprofit organizations serving immigrants across municipalities within the Greater Boston area in an effort to identify variations in the levels of assistance available to major foreign-born populations in the region. The analysis relies on data from the Census and the National Center for Charitable Statistics. Results suggest that geographic context matters, including immigrant settlement patterns, racial heterogeneity, and fiscal and institutional characteristics of towns and cities, in shaping availability of nonprofit resources to immigrants. These findings highlight large socio-spatial disparities in immigrant services and challenge the wisdom of devolving responsibility for such assistance to local governments and ultimately nonprofits, as new entrants settle in larger numbers in areas previously unaffected by immigration and ill-prepared to address immigrant needs. The research contributes to debates on the rescaling of immigrant policy and service provision and literature on the geography of integration by engaging with scholarship in urban and political geography.