Restricted movement: Nativity, citizenship, legal status, and the residential crowding of Latinos in Los Angeles

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20 Scopus citations


Residential crowding is linked with the well-being of children and adults. Although extensive U.S. research indicates variation in crowding by race/ethnicity and nativity, far less work investigates differences in crowding by immigrants' citizenship and legal status. Data from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey (L.A.FANS) are used to focus on Latinos, the group most likely to experience crowding in the United States. The analyses examine heterogeneity in crowding among four distinct groups of Latinos: U.S.-born naturalized citizens, authorized noncitizen immigrants, and unauthorized noncitizen immigrants. Theories of locational attainment and immigrant assimilation are used to develop hypotheses about whether intra-Latino variation in crowding is explained by differences in individual, household, and other characteristics, and which structural factors also interfere in this process. Multivariate analyses indicate that neither nativity nor citizenship status are linked with residential crowding, net of other variables. In contrast, lacking legal status does have residual impacts on the outcome: unauthorized noncitizen immigrants are more crowded than authorized noncitizens and all other groups. The results offer support for the spatial assimilation and place stratification perspectives on locational attainment. These findings contribute to emerging scholarship documenting the unique structural challenges that unauthorized Latino immigrants experience in residential outcomes and other domains in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-162
Number of pages22
JournalSocial Problems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Citizenship
  • Crowding
  • Housing
  • Immigration
  • Latinos
  • Legal status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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