Immigration and ethnic boundary-crossing in England and Wales: a multi-generational approach

Christel Kesler, University of Oxford and Luisa Schwartzman, University of Wisconsin-Madison

[Project number 30090]

This project concerns ethnic identification across successive generations of immigrants' descendants. It will explore potential intergenerational determinants (specifically socioeconomic status and ethnic intermarriage) of white British identification among those with an immigrant background, and examine links among socioeconomic, familial, and ethnic identificational dimensions of "assimilation."

The goal of the study is to examine ethnic identification and its correlates among the children and grandchildren of immigrants in England and Wales. The researchers are specifically interested in the links (as have often been theorised in the classic social science literature on immigration but far less often empirically studied) among socioeconomic outcomes, patterns of partnership formation with the ethnic majority, and ethnic identificational "assimilation." The focus will be on two research questions. First, how do socioeconomic outcomes (education and social class in family of origin, in adulthood, and intergenerational change or mobility) affect the propensity of an individual to identify with the ethnic majority, net of his or her "objective" immigrant background? And second, how and to what extent does having one parent or a spouse/partner of the ethnic majority alter the propensity to identify with the ethnic majority?