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Ethnic Identities, Language, and Economic Outcomes Among Dominicans in a New Destination

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Abstract:

Objective.

This study examines how racial/ethnic self-identity interrelates with language ability, skin tone, and years in the United States and with indicators of socioeconomic attainment for Dominican immigrants in Reading, Pennsylvania, a new destination city that had a nearly 800 percent increase in the Dominican population between 1990–2000. Methods.

In-depth ethno-surveys conducted with a sample of 65 Dominican-origin adults are the basis for the descriptive analysis. Results.

Based on open-ended responses, nearly 43 percent of immigrants described themselves with a specific ethnic identifier (Dominican) and 41 percent use a more general panethnic identifier (Hispanic or Latino). Panethnic self-identity is interrelated with stronger language ability, lighter skin tone, and more years in the United States, and with better indicators of socioeconomic status. Conclusion.

Race/ethnic identity is an important component of Dominican immigrant assimilation in this new destination context.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6237.2006.00417.x

Affiliations: 1: The Pennsylvania State University 2: The Ohio State University

Publication date: 2006-12-01

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