• immigrants;
  • private support;
  • public assistance;
  • substitutability

This paper examines private support and its relationship with public assistance among immigrant families, using native counterparts as a benchmark. It introduces spatial contexts to the set of conventional determinants (socioeconomic conditions, migration experiences, and nativity groups) of receiving private and public support and their potential substitutability. Examining private support reveals that immigrants have less access than natives to private support, and that both majority contact and coethnic contact increase their opportunity for private support. Examining private support and public assistance jointly reveals that, unlike Filipino and Korean backgrounds, which have a weak substitutability effect that increases the probability of receiving private support relative to public assistance, immigrants' coethnic contact does not have such a substitutability effect at all.