Diverging dividends, diverging futures: Nativity, citizenship status, legal status, and the non-housing asset accumulation of Latinos


Holding assets other than a primary residence are important for surviving economic downturns and providing opportunities for wealth creation. However, prior research shows that US Latinos are unlikely to own assets aside from a home; when they do, they have relatively little non-housing wealth. This study uses Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey data to examine variation in ownership of bank accounts, retirement accounts, and the value of non-housing assets among four Latino groups: the US-born, naturalized citizens, authorized non-citizens, and unauthorized non-citizens. All four groups display relatively low levels of asset ownership and value. However, multivariate results reveal that only unauthorized immigrants are persistently disadvantaged in non-asset ownership and value, net of socio-demographic and migration-related characteristics. These results have implications for prominent theoretical perspectives of immigrant mobility and contribute to scholarship identifying legal status as a significant form of stratification in the United States.


McConnell, Eileen Díaz. 2015. “Diverging Dividends, Diverging Futures:  Nativity, Citizenship Status, Legal Status and the Non-Housing Asset Accumulation of Latinos.” Ethnicities. 15 (2): 255-281.