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Immigrant assimilation study: low scores for Mexicans; other results mixed (N.C. Aizenman/WaPo, Yglesias, Drezner, Atrios, Weigel)

N.C. Aizenman of the Washington Post offers "Study Says Foreigners In U.S. Adapt Quickly", an article about a new Manhattan Institute report called "Measuring Immigrant Assimilation", authored by economist Jacob Vigdor of Duke University. He constructed an "assimilation index" based on economic, cultural, and civic assimilation. One of the issues with the index is that it probably doesn't include a question on whether those immigrants subscribe to our laws or whether they think they don't apply to them, and it probably doesn't cover irredentism-related issues. It's also a mixed bag; while the headline of the WaPo article spins it in the way we've come to expect from the WaPo, even N.C. Aizenman offers the following as the third sentence of his article:
The gap between today's foreign-born and native populations remains far wider than it was in the early 1900s and is particularly large in the case of Mexican immigrants, the report said.
And, Howard Husock, vice president for Policy Research at the Manhattan Institute, says:
It turns out there is plenty of assimilation going on. Cubans and Vietnamese, for instance, are economically indistinguishable from natives. Germans are indistinguishable both culturally and economically. Some cities are doing better than others at assimilating newcomers. Houston, where Mexican and Central Americans predominate, has an assimilation index of just 19. New York, where no one group predominates, has a score of 31.

But the most striking finding is much less positive. The current overall assimilation level for all immigrant groups combined, measured on a scale of zero to 100, is, at 28, lower now than it was during the great immigration wave of the early 20th century, when it never went below 32. What’s more, the immigrant group that is by far the largest is also the least assimilated. On the zero-to-100 scale, Mexicans — 11 million emigrated to America between 1980 and 2006 — score only 13.

Although Mexican assimilation does occur, it’s extremely slow. Mexicans who arrived in 1995 started out with Index scores around five — and increased only to around 10 by 2005. In other words, our largest immigrant group arrived with little education and even less knowledge of English, and they have stayed that way for an extended period.
On the same theme, Eunice Moscoso offers "Immigrants less integrated than before, study finds" (link).

Oddly enough, those hacks who support massive and/or illegal immigration only seem to have read the headline of the WaPo piece.

They include David Weigel of Reason Magazine ("The Washington Post reports on a new study revealing the quicker and quicker adaptation of immigrants to American norms."; reason.com/blog/show/126477.html). He's taken to task here.

Someone else weighing in is Duncan Black (aka Atrios) under the title "Paging Lou Dobbs" (eschatonblog.com/2008_05_11_archive.html#7247266138416718020):
Haven't looked at the study myself, so put this in the category of "confirms what I already thought," but as someone who lives in a city which still has plenty of white ethnic enclaves I've long been puzzled by the widespread belief that today's immigrants are somehow "different," aside from the skin color of some of them.
That's not only sleazy race-baiting, but it contains two logical fallacies: he's drawing a false conclusion based on a small sample size (i.e., his limited experiences) and based on past behavior despite the underlying conditions having changed.

Next up is Matt Yglesias, who links approvingly to both the WaPo and Atrios in "Assimilation Then and Now" (matthewyglesias.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/05/assimilation_then_and_now.php).

Last and least at least as far as traffic is concerned, Daniel Drezner takes a content-free swipe at both Lou Dobbs and Mickey Kaus (http://www.danieldrezner.com/archives/003815.html)

UPDATE: Looking at the study (manhattan-institute.org/html/cr_53.htm), here's what "cultural assimilation" means to the author the study:

* Ability to speak English
* Intermarriage (whether an individual’s spouse is native-born)
* Number of children
* Marital status

One will note a few things missing, such as whether they buy in to our laws (or think they don't apply to them) and whether they support our borders (or think they have a Blut und Boden-style right to move anywhere within the Americas).

An intellectually honest index would take those into account. The civic index has similar issues as well, one of which the author acknowledges (military service being a fast-track to citizenship).
Other tags: dave weigel · nc aizenman

Immigration2008a · Tue, 05/13/2008 - 10:30 · Importance: 4

Tue, 05/13/2008 - 22:05
Fred Dawes
www.myspace.com/freddawes1776

Let say it right up front the Study means to say WHITES Will be totallly Assimilated into the brown/black and yellow world and become part of the overall hispanic/yellow/black world someday the chinese Reds will be able to buy washington for 26 cent a building. The study is telling you it wants mass race Holocaust of all whites on this earth, but not all whites the main ruling class will be white and totally evil. Mexico city and the third world rulers understand that you are owned and will someday just buy you like the bitch people you are if you do nothing.

Thu, 05/15/2008 - 03:14
llamajockey

Atrois's Blog Eschaton has the most immature silly commentors imaginable. As a liberal economist Duncan Black should know better that excessive immigration depresses the wages of working Americans. But he will never go there less he brings the wraith of the Open Borders loons upon himself. That is pretty gutless but typical among most liberal economists. Over the last 5 years the only sort of response to any posting related to immigration is something like "lou dobbs is a racist" "LOUD OBBS" or "Unless you are Native American your opinion is not welcome" Duncan Black feels no obligation to enlighten his readership. Besides he is too chicken sh*t to risk his undeserved wide respect in the liberal blogosphere. Meanwhile Daily Kos and Firedoglake has been taken over by a bunch of Stalinists who seem to follow in lock step the Marcusian Gramscian Marxist edicts of Dave Neiwert and his commie puppet master Chip Berlet. Over at the Atlantic Matt Yglesias and Silly Sully are still hopeless hacks spewing the same tired open borders nonsense. The same pro open borders morons troll their comment sections, who continually get their heads handed to them by the better informed restrictionists. Dave Weigel & Daniel Dezner are your typical psuedo-hipster libertarian extremist whackos who got his first nuts off stroking it to The Fountainhead.

Fri, 05/16/2008 - 19:46
Alex Nowrasteh

You mention that some things are missing from this study, "such as whether they buy in to our laws." Since most Americans have, at one time or another, smoked marijuana at least once, drank alcohol before they turned 21, exceeded the speed limit while driving, and perhaps "misreported" income on their income taxes, does that mean you'll deport them? First generation immigrants commit far fewer crimes than their native counterparts. If there is one group of people who don't respect our "laws," they are American citizens, not immigrants.

Wed, 05/21/2008 - 19:05
KAS

The only people who are doing any assimilating are American citizens