Rebbeca Tesfai, Ph.D.
Demography Race, Ethnicity, & Immigration
My research provides a comprehensive account of black immigrants’ economic, political and residential incorporation over time and across place. Using quantitative methods, I study black immigrants’ occupational, wage, voting, housing, and residential patterns. As a social demographer, I use these analyses to re-examine our theoretical understanding of both immigrant incorporation and racial stratification. Specifically, my work investigates whether black immigrants have – like Asian immigrants in the U.S. – attained a model minority status in their host country or if black immigrants’ race confines them to the bottom of their racially stratified host society. I find that – due to the rigidity of racial boundaries – black immigrants are largely unable to escape racial discrimination resulting in outcomes similar to (if not worse than) native-born black individuals in the United States and the most marginalized groups in Europe. Because the U.S. is one of the largest immigrant receiving countries in the world, the patterns observed could be assumed to occur in other immigrant receiving countries however, there is a great deal of cross-national variation in immigrant incorporation. My current work uses cross-national comparative research to empirically test assumptions made in theories of immigrant incorporation.