College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date

8-2010

Document Type

Thesis

College/Department Conferring Degree

International Public Service

Keywords

emigration and immigration, integration, suburbs, refugees, assimilation (sociology)

Abstract

While much immigration research has been focused upon urban areas, recent trends in migration patterns show that more and more immigrants are moving to the suburbs, which has resulted in some unique integration challenges. This research focuses on a particular suburban Chicago neighborhood, seeking to determine who is living there, to what extent they are making connections with the larger community and with other groups living within the same neighborhood, and what factors they believe will best assist in their integration. Utilizing a participatory research method that seeks to engage the community in question—the Parkside Apartments in the western suburbs of Chicago—throughout the process of research, the study focuses on African and Mexican immigrants, allowing for comparison using several measures of integration, including legal, socio-cultural, economic, and social capital indicators. The results, which suggest that different groups of immigrants integrate in different ways—with those most economically integrated dragging behind other groups in other respects—lead to several recommendations as to how suburban communities, and state and federal policies, could better facilitate integration on all levels.

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