This book evaluates the assimilation of immigrants in the United States between 1850 and 2007, placing contemporary immigrants in historical perspective. It finds that on average, the path toward the American mainstream is traveled more rapidly by modern immigrants than it was by their predecessors a century ago. The average does not tell the whole story, however. Some contemporary groups exhibit extraordinary rates of naturalization and economic progress, while others lag behind to an extent never before witnessed. The lack of legal status is a major impediment to assimilation for many of these groups.
"Jacob Vigdor's From Immigrants to Americans is a lucid analysis of a central and enduring issue in our society. No other recent study of this subject matches it in economic sophistication and historical depth. It is enriched by an abundant supply of graphs and tables, allowing readers to assess for themselves the evidence upon which the author's interpretations rest."—Stephan Thernstrom, Winthrop Research Professor of History, Harvard "Jacob Vigdor has written a must-read book on immigrant assimilation. The book examines a wide range of issues relating to the assimilation experience. It is sure to become a standard reference in this increasingly important social policy issue."—Geroge Borjas, Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School Winner, 2010 IPUMS Research Award