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Citation Information

Type Thesis or Dissertation
Title Female headship: Testing theories of linear assimilation, segmented assimilation, and familism among Mexican origin women
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2000
URL http://www.utexas.edu/cola/prc/_files/pdf/workingpapers/00-01-02.pdf
Abstract
This study examines how levels of female headship, non-marital fertility, and divorce
among Mexican origin women aged 18-59 compare to levels among the non-Hispanic white
majority. Change in these family patterns are measured over time and across generations to test
three theories of assimilation, linear assimilation, segmented assimilation, and familism. Whether
Mexican Americans will follow the patterns of assimilation and integration experienced by
European immigrants and their descendents is hotly debated. Some researchers argue that not
enough time has passed or generational distance occurred in the Hispanic population for
assimilation to be widespread (Alba, 1995). Others argue that the unique experience of particular
ethnic groups once in the United States will prevent assimilation towards the mainstream
population. Rather than experiencing socioeconomic improvement over time, these groups will
remain distinct from the white majority both economically and culturally (Portes, 1995; Portes
and Zhou, 1994).
This analyses uses data from the IPUMS to analyze changes in Mexican American
female headship from 1880-1990. Regression analyses of patterns of female headship, divorce,
and non-marital fertility from 1960-1990, offer no support for either the linear assimilation of
familism theories. Analyses of generational changes using the 1995 June CPS provide mixed
support for the linear assimilation and segmented assimilation theories.

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