Race/Ethnicity, Educational–Occupational Mismatch, and Immigrant Wealth Accumulation

Matthew A. Painter, University of Wyoming

Immigrants’ integration into American society has occupied the interest of both scholars and the general public throughout the nation’s history. This article focuses on wealth accumulation as an indicator of economic integration and assesses how race/ethnicity and education–occupation mismatch (i.e., over/under-qualification) affect the wealth accumulation of a unique sample of immigrants – legal permanent residents (LPR). Using data from the 2003 New Immigrant Survey, this paper complements other work on the social implications of education–occupation mismatch (Vaisey 2006). Results suggest that race/ethnicity affects the wealth accumulation of LPR immigrants, revealing a Latino/nonLatino divide for LPR immigrants’ financial well-being. Moreover, the relationship between education–occupation mismatch and wealth accumulation depends on whether immigrants have more or less education than their same-occupation coworkers. This article discusses the implications of these findings for immigrants’ wealth accumulation and for the growing population of LPR immigrants living in the United States.

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Presented in Session 48: Immigrant Integration and Assimilation