Immigrant Second Generation in Metropolitan New York (ICPSR 30302)

Published: Apr 1, 2011

Principal Investigator(s):
John Mollenkopf, City University of New York. Graduate Center; Philip Kasinitz, City University of New York. Graduate Center; Mary Waters, Harvard University

Version V1

The study analyzes the forces leading to or impeding the assimilation of 18- to 32-year-olds from immigrant backgrounds that vary in terms of race, language, and the mix of skills and liabilities their parents brought to the United States. To make sure that what we find derives specifically from growing up in an immigrant family, rather than simply being a young person in New York, a comparison group of people from native born White, Black, and Puerto Rican backgrounds was also studied. The sample was drawn from New York City (except for Staten Island) and the surrounding counties in the inner part of the New York-New Jersey metropolitan region where the vast majority of immigrants and native born minority group members live and grow up. The study groups make possible a number of interesting comparisons. Unlike many other immigrant groups, the West Indian first generation speaks English, but the dominant society racially classifies them as Black. The study explored how their experiences resemble or differ from native born African Americans. Dominicans and the Colombian-Peruvian-Ecuadoran population both speak Spanish, but live in different parts of New York, have different class backgrounds prior to immigration, and, quite often, different skin tones. The study compared them to Puerto Rican young people, who, along with their parents, have the benefit of citizenship. Chinese immigrants from the mainland tend to have little education, while young people with overseas Chinese parents come from families with higher incomes, more education, and more English fluency. Respondents were divided into eight groups depending on their parents' origin. Those of immigrant ancestry include: Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union; Chinese immigrants from the mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Chinese Diaspora; immigrants from the Dominican Republic; immigrants from the English-speaking countries of the West Indies (including Guyana but excluding Haiti and those of Indian origin); and immigrants from Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. These groups composed 44 percent of the 2000 second-generation population in the defined sample area. For comparative purposes, Whites, Blacks, and Puerto Ricans who were born in the United States and whose parents were born in the United States or Puerto Rico were also interviewed. To be eligible, a respondent had to have a parent from one of these groups. If the respondent was eligible for two groups, he or she was asked which designation he or she preferred. The ability to compare these groups with native born Whites, Blacks, and Puerto Ricans permits researchers to investigate the effects of nativity while controlling for race and language background. About two-thirds of second-generation respondents were born in the United States, mostly in New York City, while one-third were born abroad but arrived in the United States by age 12 and had lived in the country for at least 10 years, except for those from the former Soviet Union, some of whom arrived past the age of 12. The project began with a pilot study in July 1996. Survey data collection took place between November 1999 and December 1999. The study includes demographic variables such as race, ethnicity, language, age, education, income, family size, country of origin, and citizenship status.

Mollenkopf, John, Kasinitz, Philip, and Waters, Mary. Immigrant Second Generation in Metropolitan New York. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2011-04-01.

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Russell Sage Foundation (5R01HD036886 NICHD/NIH)

Ford Foundation

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Rockefeller Foundation


This data collection may not be used for any purpose other than statistical reporting and analysis. Use of these data to learn the identity of any person or establishment is prohibited. To obtain this file, researchers must agree to the terms and conditions of a Restricted Data Use Agreement in accordance with existing ICPSR servicing policies. There was IRB approval for this data.


1998-11-01 -- 1999-12-30

Special collaborator(s):

United Jewish Appeal/Federation (for Russian Jewish sample)

Organizational name of data producer:

Center for Urban Research, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Telephone interviews were conducted with random samples of 3,415 men and women aged 18 to 32 living in New York City (except Staten Island) or the inner suburban areas of Nassau and Westchester Counties, New York, and northeastern New Jersey. A first wave of screening involved random-digit dialing (RDD) contact of 91,331 households with telephones in the sampling area. A second wave of screening involved RDD contact of 196,093 households with telephones within telephone exchanges that yielded at least one valid response in the first wave.

Young adults aged 18-32 who were born in the United States to parents who immigrated after 1965 (the second generation) or who were born abroad but arrived the United States by age 12 and grew up in the United States (the "1.5 generation") from five different immigrant origins, or who were born in the United States to parents born in the United States or Puerto Rico, who identify themselves as White, Black, or Puerto Rican.

individual, household

survey data

  • Total Phase 1 Screening Calls: 91,331

  • Not Residential/No Answer/No Response after Call Backs: 54,789

  • Household Did Not Speak English, Spanish, Chinese, or Russian: 4,141

  • Eligible to be Screened: 32,401

  • Refused to be Screened: 4,862

  • Began Phase 1 Screening: 27,089

  • Failed to Complete Screening: 4,585

  • Completed Screening: 22,504

  • Percent Eligible Successfully Screened: 69.5 percent

  • Found Eligible in Phase 1 Screening: 4,405

  • Total Phase 2 Screening Calls: 196,063

  • Not Residential/No Answer/No Response after Call backs: 109,283

  • Household Did Not Speak English, Spanish, Chinese, or Russian: 6,330

  • Eligible to be Screened: 80,450

  • Refused to be Screened: 10,066

  • Started Screening: 70,384

  • Completed Screening: 64,290

  • Percent Eligible Successfully Screened: 79.9 percent

  • Found Eligible in Phase 2 Screening: 2,399

  • Total Eligible in Phase 1 and Phase 2: 6,804

  • Total Over Quota: 363

  • Total Final Respondents: 3,415

  • Percent of Eligible Completed Interviews: 53.2 percent



weight: weight respondents to reflect their proportion in the total population in sampling area as of 2000 Census (for use in multivariate analysis).

ingrpwt: weight age distribution of Phase 2 respondents to match Phase 1 (for use in cross tabulation by group).

samewt: reweight ingrpwt to make each analytic group the same size.


  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions.

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This study is provided by Resource Center for Minority Data (RCMD).