Obtained spatial dispersion, yet reinforced ethnic boundary: A study of contemporary Chinese immigrant in suburban towns, New England

Weiwei Zhang, Brown University

The article first discusses two theoretical models for understanding the trajectory of immigrant assimilation. Neither of them, however, fits into the experience of recent Chinese immigrants in New England suburbs. In addition to analyzing the newly released 2008 ACS data, this study relies on extensive observations in several suburban towns, and interviews with the key informants and residents. It is found that Chinese immigrants in New England have developed a new type of Chinese ethnic community that is different from the old enclaves or the more recent ethnoburbs observed in NY and LA. The formation and development of such an ethnic community become possible mainly due to immigrants’ unique demographic features, the transportation technology, the information exchange through the internet, and cultural events organized by Chinese language schools in suburbs. The boundaries of suburban Chinese communities in New England are reinforced and extended beyond the residential neighborhoods and cross towns.

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Presented in Poster Session 7