Buying into the American dream? Mexican immigrants, legal status, and homeownership in Los Angeles County

Eileen McConnell, Enrico A. Marcelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Objectives. Contemporary patterns of homeownership reflect the continuing racial and ethnic stratification that exists in nearly all areas of American society. Of particular interest, especially within the context of recent immigration legislation, are the homeownership experiences of Mexican immigrants in the United States. Methods. The current study employs unique data from the 2001 Los Angeles County Mexican Immigrant Residency Status Survey (LAC-MIRSS) to examine the association between diverse forms of legal status and homeownership for Mexican immigrants. Results. Analyses indicate that the relationship between legal status and housing tenure is not statistically significant, after accounting for economic, life-course/life-cycle, and assimilation/social capital characteristics. Conclusions. The lack of a significant relationship is contrary to past research, perhaps explained by the explosive growth of the subprime mortgage market in the United States; the increasing recognition by financial institutions of Latino immigrants as a largely untapped, yet emerging, market in the mortgage industry; the availability of alternative forms of identification; and the institutionalization of unauthorized immigration in Los Angeles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-221
Number of pages23
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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