, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 375-389

Immigrants’ welfare use and opportunity for contact with co-ethnics

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In this article we examine the relationship between immigrants’ welfare use and their social capital, using the 1990 census. We measure community social capital using contact with co-ethnics and coethnics’ economic inactivity, and examine the use of AFDC and SSI in two subpopulations: single-mother families and elderly units. Major findings are that the effects of social capital differ between immigrant single-mother families and elderly units; the effects of social capital differ between the young-at-arrival elderly and the old-at-arrival elderly; and the process of AFDC use is similar for immigrants and for natives, whereas the process of SSI use is more complicated for immigrants than for natives.

This paper was presented at the 1999 annual meetings of the American Sociological Association, held in Chicago in August. The research was supported by Grant SBR-9819209 from the National Science Foundation.