Ethnic Neighborhoods and Health among Asian Americans: Can We Generalize?

Emily Walton, University of Wisconsin-Madison

What does it mean to live in an Asian American ethnic neighborhood? Classic spatial assimilation theory describes ethnic neighborhoods as structurally disadvantaged, but temporary havens of social, cultural, and instrumental support for immigrants lacking human capital to integrate directly into mainstream society. Alternatively, place stratification theory argues that discrimination forces racial minorities to live in neighborhoods devoid of structural and social resources. A final perspective, resurgent ethnicity, contends that co-ethnic concentration can arise from choice and preference for living among ethnically-similar others. Each of these theories implies a different constellation of structural and social resources that influence the health and well-being of individuals living in these ethnic neighborhoods. Accounting for assimilation trajectories and neighborhood resources, I define three main types of ethnic neighborhoods in which Asian Americans live and systematically examine contextual associations with individual health. Data include the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS, 2007-09) and the 2000 Census.

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Presented in Session 180: Residential Segregation and Health