Latino Studies Asian-Latino Relations
Natalie Masuoka, Jennifer Wang
  • LAST REVIEWED: 30 July 2014
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 July 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199913701-0085


The passage of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act led to sweeping changes in the racial and ethnic makeup of the United States. Since 1965, the two largest-growing racial or ethnic groups in the United States are Asian Americans and Latinos. While both Asian Americans and Latinos have settled in the United States for many decades and have rich, long histories in the country, immigration is an important and predominant feature shared by both populations. As such, research that focuses both on Asian Americans and Latinos is often a comparison of the two groups on a particular dimension, such as identity, educational attainment, politics, or incorporation practices. By comparing Asian and Latino immigrant groups, scholars can develop insight into how race and immigration interact with one another and how this interaction may lead to different outcomes for each group. In addition, research also examines the disparities in opportunities and access offered to these two immigrant groups. Outside of topics related to immigration, demographic patterns have found that Asian American and Latino populations often reside in similar areas, such as Los Angeles and New York City. Research has also begun to assess the intergroup relations between these two populations.

Demography and Segregation

As populations of Latinos and Asians in the United States have steadily begun to increase in size, more research has been done regarding the residential patterns that have occurred as a result of greater racial and ethnic diversity. In particular, cities such as Los Angeles and New York are used as key case studies for assessing settlement patterns and degree of segregation across racial and ethnic groups. The works in this section provide an overview of Asian and Latino settlement patterns and communities in multiethnic cities. We begin with Alba, et al. 1999, which analyzes Asian American and Latino populations by using census data from 1980 and 1990. Growth and spatial segregation of urban Asian American and Latino populations in cities are discussed in Frey and Farley 1996 and Massey and Denton 1987. Both these works provide insight into the settlement patterns of Asian American and Latino populations within the time span of the 1970s to mid-1990s. Bobo, et al. 2002 and Hum 2002 examine the growth of Asian and Latino populations in specific cities; Bobo, et al. 2002 discusses the spectrum of inequality that Asian and Latino residents face in Los Angeles, while Hum 2002 focuses on the Asian and Latino demographic shifts in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

  • Alba, Richard D., John R. Logan, Brian J. Stults, Gilbert Marzan, and Wenquan Zhang. “Immigrant Groups in the Suburbs: A Reexamination of Suburbanization and Spatial Assimilation.” American Sociological Review 64.3 (1999): 446–460.

    DOI: 10.2307/2657495

    This study uses the 1980 and 1990 US Census Public-Use Microdata to identify patterns of suburban residence among Asian American and Latino populations. The study finds that there is a link between measures of assimilation and suburbanization among new immigrant groups, in particular Asian national origin groups.

  • Bobo, Lawrence D., Melvin L. Oliver, James H. Johnson, and Abel Valenzuela, eds. Prismatic Metropolis: Inequality in Los Angeles. Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2002.

    This edited volume presents data on the Los Angeles sample of the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality (MCSUI). The objective was to study the social and political implications of a multiracial environment. Issues of racial segregation, stereotyping, and labor force discrimination of African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos are presented.

  • Frey, William H., and Reynolds Farley. “Latino, Asian, and Black Segregation in U.S. Metropolitan Areas: Are Multiethnic Metros Different?” Demography 33.1 (1996): 35–50.

    DOI: 10.2307/2061712

    The authors examine the demographic changes in concentrations of Latinos, Asians, and blacks in major US cities. Demographic changes in forty major cities are studied. The authors find that concentrations of Asians and Latinos in urban areas have increased in most of the cities studied.

  • Hum, Tarry. “Asian and Latino Immigration and the Revitalization of Sunset Park, Brooklyn.” In Contemporary Asian American Communities: Intersections and Divergences. Edited by Linda Trinh Võ and Rick Bonus, 27–44. Asian American History and Culture. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2002.

    This study analyzes the impact of post-1965 immigration patterns on the neighborhood of Sunset Park in Brooklyn, New York. The implications of demographic changes are also discussed relative to neighborhood tensions and intergroup interaction.

  • Massey, Douglas S., and Nancy A. Denton. “Trends in the Residential Segregation of Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians: 1970–1980.” American Sociological Review 52.6 (1987): 802–825.

    DOI: 10.2307/2095836

    Massey and Denton compare the segregation levels of African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans of sixty metropolitan areas between 1970 and 1980. Results show that Latino populations are segregated from whites but not as severe as what is demonstrated for blacks. Asian populations are the least segregated group.

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