Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Family Dimensions of Immigrant Integration

Thursday, November 12, 2015 : 10:15 AM
Stanford (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Daniel Lichter, Cornell University
The family is a fundamental institution.  Family structure – size, composition, and the set of interconnected social relationships – can shift rapidly over time, as it has in the United States (Cherlin 2010; Sassler 2010), or can vary enormously from one society to another (Lesthaeghe 2010).  But, importantly, all families serve the basic functions of regulating sexual expression and procreation, providing childcare and socialization (i.e., social reproduction), and imposing agreed-upon social roles and rules of lineage on family members.  As such, all families transmit culture, including social mores and customs, language, and belief systems, from parental to filial generations.  This is true of native-born Americans and it is true of new immigrant populations.  As such, immigrant families today are a cornerstone of the process of social integration, now and into the foreseeable future (Clark, Glick, and Bures 2009; Glick 2010).  Families and kin networks provide a cultural safe haven for immigrants, but also a launching point for their native-born children into American society (i.e., the 2nd generation).