Richard Alba

alba.richard's picture

Distinguished Professor of Sociology, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

The Graduate Center, City University of New York
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10016
(212) 817-8773

Expertise & Civic Involvements

Alba is most knowledgeable about immigration and its long-term consequences in terms of the intergenerational changes to immigrant-origin groups as well as the impacts on the societies they have joined. He has done very extensive research on the incorporation of immigrant groups in the United States, including both groups that came during the last great European wave, which ended in the 1920s, and those of present-day waves. He has also studied immigrants and their children in Western Europe, especially in France and Germany.

Key Publications

  • The Children of Immigrants at School: A Preliminary Look at Integration in the United States and Western Europe (edited with Jennifer Holdaway) (New York University Press, forthcoming).
    Shows how the children coming from low-status immigrant families are lagging behind their mainstream peers in the schools of the United States and four western European countries at a time when the need for highly educated workers is increasing everywhere. The fruit of an international study involving 25 social scientists, this book addresses a number of reforms that can be undertaken to ameliorate this inequality.
  • "Mexican Americans as a Paradigm for Contemporary Intragroup Heterogeneity" (with Tomás R. Jiménez, and Helen B. Marrow). Ethnic and Racial Studies 37, no. 3 (2013): 466.
    Examines theories of racialization and assimilation in regards to the position of immigrant-origin populations in American society – and finds reason to think that heterogeneity, for Mexican Americans at least, is increasing in the twenty-first century.
  • Blurring the Color Line: The New Chance for a More Integrated America (Harvard University Press, 2009).
    Argues that the social cleavages that separate Americans into distinct, unequal ethno-racial groups could narrow dramatically in the coming decades – but demographic shifts will only benefit disadvantaged American minorities if they are provided with access to education and training.
  • Remaking the American Mainstream: Assimilation and Contemporary Immigration (with Victor Nee) (Harvard University Press, 2003).
    Demonstrates the continuing importance of assimilation in American life even as institutional changes, from civil rights legislation to immigration law, have provided a more favorable environment for nonwhite immigrants and their children.

Media Contributions