Current Research

The New York Second Generation Project focuses on the lives of young adults in New York City whose parents came from Latin America, China, and the Caribbean, based on analysis of a large survey, in-depth life history interviews and ethnographic observations. The study examines the socioeconomic, cultural, and social adjustments of the new second generation. This is a joint project with sociologist Philip Kaisnitz and political scientists John Mollenkopf and Jennifer Holdaway.

Coming of Age in America is a cross site qualitative study of the transition to adulthood in a number of different communities across the United States. This study asks how young people are leaving home, finishing education, finding work, choosing life partners, and becoming parents, given the documented extension of the period of young adulthood and the increasing variety in the timing and sequencing of these events among young people today. The study examines the lives of young adults in New York, San Diego, Minneapolis, Detroit and rural Iowa. This project is a joint one with sociologists Patrick Carr, Maria Kefalas, and political scientist Jennifer Holdaway and is part of the MacArthur Network on the Transition to Adulthood.

Katrina and Its Aftermath in the Lives of Community College Students. This project, funded by the National Science Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation follows a group of community college students who were part of a longitudinal study on young adulthood in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005. In the summer of 2006 we will be re-interviewing members of the panel study to see how this disaster has affected their lives and their long term goals and what kinds of supports or hurdles this disruption has created in their lives. This is a joint project with psychologist Jean Rhodes and economists Christina Paxson and Cecelia Rouse, and with Tom Brock and colleagues at MDRC in New York.

The Second Generation in Europe and the United States. There are two aspects to this project. In 2004 researchers studying the second generation in various European countries and in the United States came together at Radcliffe for a conference to compare approaches to studying this phenomenon and research findings. The results in a book, The Next Generation: Children of Immigrants in Europe and North America (co-edited with Richard Alba). The second part of the project is a National Science Foundation and Nuffield Foundation funded project on children of immigrants in schools in Europe and the United States. This project, headed by Richard Alba and Jennifer Holdaway pairs American and European researchers to study the ways in which national differences in education systems affect student attainment and economic and civic integration for children of immigrants. The project covers France, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Britain. Waters and sociologist Anthony Heath of Oxford University head the U.S. Britain comparison, which involves comparative research on the educational experiences of the second generation in Britain and the US, and the exchange of post doctoral and pre-doctoral scholars between Harvard and Oxford.