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MEXICAN ASSIMILATION: A Temporal and Spatial Reorientation1

  • Tomás R. Jiménez (a1) and David Fitzgerald (a2)


One of the principal theoretical and policy questions in the sociology of international migration is the extent to which post-1965 immigrants are either assimilating in the United States or remain stuck in an ethnic “underclass.” This paper aims to recast conventional approaches to assimilation through a temporal and spatial reorientation, with special attention to the Mexican-origin case. Attending to the effects of the replenishment of the Mexican-origin population through a constant stream of new immigrants shows significant assimilation taking place temporally between a given immigrant cohort and subsequent generations. Thinking outside the national box, through comparing the growing differences between Mexican migrants and their descendants, on the one hand, and Mexicans who stay in Mexico, on the other, reveals, spatially, a dramatic upward mobility and a process of “homeland dissimilation” that conventional accounts miss. We demonstrate the analytic utility of these two perspectives through an empirical comparison with more orthodox approaches to educational stratification.


Corresponding author

Professor Tomás R. Jiménez, University of California, San Diego, Department of Sociology, 401 Social Science Building, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0533. E-mail:


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The authors wish to thank April Linton and David Cook for their suggestions and Miguel Jiménez for his assistance with data analysis.



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MEXICAN ASSIMILATION: A Temporal and Spatial Reorientation1

  • Tomás R. Jiménez (a1) and David Fitzgerald (a2)


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