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Keywords:

  • assimilation;
  • intermarriage;
  • Mexican Americans

In 1965 the United States rewrote its immigration laws, and immigration increased sharply as a result. The immigrants and the children of immigrants from the post-1965 period are slowly becoming more influential in U.S. life; the largest of these groups are the Mexican immigrants and the Mexican Americans. The rapid growth of Hispanic and Asian populations in the United States has led to a renewed interest in the question of assimilation; that is, will the new groups assimilate, and if so how long will it take? Will they become part of White America? Will some groups assimilate into the Black-dominated urban underclass (a process Portes called segmented assimilation)? Will some groups remain permanently separate and socially isolated? In this article, I examine the behavior of Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants in the U.S. marriage market, using census data from 1970, 1980, and 1990. The findings are that Mexican Americans are assimilating with non-Hispanic Whites over time, and the evidence tends to reject the segmented assimilation hypothesis. The interplay between intermarriage and endogamy is studied with log linear models; some variations by geography and U.S. nativity are noted.