Immigrants: America's Hope? (Part II)

December 2001

In this section of last month’s issue, we commented that if America, particularly in the coastal regions, is to remain civilized, the burden to keep it so will be on the immigrants — a sort of an inverse “white man’s burden.” We even speculated that a new Rudyard Kipling might come along to sing the praises of immigrants in light of the burden hoisted upon them.

Well, it turns out that an accidental Kipling has already been singing the praises of the cultural force that is America’s immigrants. That Kipling is the not-so-poetic U.S. Census Bureau.

Statistics for the 2000 U.S. Census indicate (as reported by the Associated Press, Sept. 7) that four percent of the 105.5 million U.S. households, or roughly 3.9 million households, are “multigenerational households,” that is, with a minimum of three generations living under the same roof. The Census Bureau broke down these multigenerational households into two principal categories: (1) “sandwich homes” consisting of the head of the household, his children, and his parents; and (2) “grandparent-led homes” consisting of the head of the household, his children, and his grandchildren. Of these two categories, the former evinces a strong, traditional family arrangement while the latter portends broken, nontraditional family arrangements.

So who is most likely to live in a multigenerational “sandwich home”? Immigrants! Not coincidentally, the states with the highest percentage of “sandwich homes” — Hawaii, California, New York, and New Jersey — are those with the highest number of first-generation Asian, Pacific Islander, and Hispanic immigrants, groups renowned for strong, traditional families.


You have two options:

  1. Online subscription: Subscribe now to New Oxford Review for access to all web content at newoxfordreview.org AND the monthly print edition for as low as $38 per year.
  2. Single article purchase: Purchase this article for $1.95, for viewing and printing for 48 hours.

If you're already a subscriber log-in here.



New Oxford Notes: December 2001

Read our posting policy Add a comment
Be the first to comment on this note!