a blog

by Josh Nicholas

Immigrants assimilate

...Overall though, lessons from the Age of Mass Migration suggest that fears that immigrants cannot or will not fit into American society are misplaced. It would be a mistake to determine immigration policy based on the belief that immigrants will remain foreigners, preserving their old ways of life and keeping themselves at arm’s length from the dominant culture. The evidence suggests that over time immigrant populations come to resemble natives, and that new generations form distinct identities as Americans...

Not sure about using names as a proxy for "foreigness", but it's an interesting paper that is in line with other research in this area. Particularly notable are the results for lower socioeconomic immigrants, given the emphasis on skilled migration in so many countries.

...We compare the cultural assimilation of immigrants during two waves of mass migration to the United States, the first from Europe and the second from Asia and Latin America. Using five million census records from 1920 and 1940, and nearly ten million California birth certificate records between 1989 and 2015, we start by constructing a “foreignness index” indicating the probability that a given name is held by a foreigner or a native at the time the name was given...

...In both periods, cultural assimilation is somewhat faster for immigrants from lower socioeconomic status. The rapid pace of cultural assimilation observed in our names-based measure is consistent with other indicators, including learning to speak English, applying for US citizenship, and marrying spouses from different origins...