Cuban and Mexican Immigrants in the U.S. (CMI)

Project Description

The aim of this longitudinal study, based on data on Cuban and Mexican immigrants to the USA collected in 1973-74, was to map the process of immigrant adaptation and incorporation into the labour market. The survey data contained in this archive was gathered over a period beginning in 1973-74 and ending in 1979. This data is the primary source for the publication Latin Journey: Cuban and Mexican Immigrants in the United States (Portes and Bach 1985). The longitudinal character of the study also allowed the researchers to untangle the sequence of events leading to specific results and to compare the effects of what immigrants bring with them with those stemming from the social and economic context that receives them.

Samples of Cuban and Mexican immigrants were interviewed at the moment of arrival in 1973-1974, reinterviewed in 1976, and again in 1979. Cubans were originally interviewed in Miami; Mexicans were interviewed at the two major entry points along the Texas-Mexican border: Laredo and El Paso. In total, 1412 immigrants were interviewed: 822 Mexicans and 590 Cubans.
Both samples were composed of males aged 18 to 60 and not dependent for their livelihood on others. Information was collected on basic background characteristics such as education, occupation, and marital status. In addition, information was gathered on respondents' self-perceptions and social and economic expectations (ethnic identity, perceptions of discrimination, knowledge of U.S. society, and occupational expectations).
The main difficulty faced by the project was to maintain contact with respondents in the intersurvey periods. The first survey included questions on the respondents intended address and place of employment and information about relatives living in the United States. These persons were labeled anchors. Just prior to follow-up surveys, tracing stations were set up to locate respondents. The first follow-up tracked over 72.3 percent of the original Cuban sample and 53.4 percent of the Mexican. The final follow-up survey retrieved 413 Cuban respondents or exactly 70 percent and 455 Mexican respondents or 55.4 percent, slightly improving the 1976 response rate.

Data Description

Each data file contains data from the original survey and the two follow up surveys. For each sample there are three files. One is an SPSS system file with an .sav suffix (e.g. cuba123.sav). This is in binary format and must be retrieved as such. These files may be analyzed using the SPSS statistical analysis program. An analogous file contains all the data in ascii (text) format. These files have a .dat suffix (e.g. mex123.dat). They can be read into any statistical analysis software using an appropriate format statement. Stata-compatible data files are also available and have a .dta extension. For each data file there is a corresponding codebook in .cdx format, accessible with Microsoft Windows (save to a convenient location on your computer, then use Microsoft Word to open the document). These contain information about variable formats and values.

Selected Publications

Portes, Alejandro and Robert Bach. 1985. Latin Journey: Cuban and Mexican Immigrants in the United States. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Portes, Alejandro. 1984. "The Rise of Ethnicity, Determinants of Ethnic Perceptions among Cuban Exiles in Miami." American Sociological Review 49 (June): 383-397
Portes, Alejandro, Juan M. Clark, and Manuel M. Lopez. 1982. "Six Years Later: The Process of Incorporation of Cuban Exiles in the United States." Cuban Studies 11/12 (January): 1-24.
Portes, Alejandro and Kenneth L. Wilson. 1980. "Immigrant Enclaves: An Analysis of the Labor Market Experiences of Cubans in Miami." American Journal of Sociology 86 (September): 295-319.
Portes, Alejandro, Robert N. Parker, and Jose A. Cobas. 1980. "Assimilation or Consciousness: Perceptions of U.S. Society among Recent Latin American Immigrants to the United States." Social Forces 59 (September): 200-224.
Portes, Alejandro and Robert L. Bach. 1980. "Immigrant Earnings: Cuban and Mexican Immigrants in the United States." International Migration Review 14 (Fall): 315-341.
Portes, Alejandro. 1979. "Illegal Immigration and the International System: Lessons from Recent Legal Immigrants from Mexico." Social Problems 26 (April): 425-438.
Spanish Translation: Revista Mexicana de Sociologia 41 (October - December 1979): 1257-1277.
Portes, Alejandro, Samuel A. McLeod Jr., and Robert N. Parker. 1978. "Immigrant Aspirations." Sociology of Education 51 (October): 241-260.