Beyond English proficiency: Rethinking immigrant integration

Ilana Redstone Akresh, Douglas S. Massey, Reanne Frank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


We develop and test a conceptual model of English language acquisition and the strength of the latter in predicting social and cultural assimilation. We present evidence that the path to English proficiency begins with exposure to English in the home country and on prior U.S. trips. English proficiency, then, has direct links to the intermediate migration outcomes of occupational status in the U.S., the amount of time in the U.S. since the most recent trip, and the co-ethnic residential context in the U.S. In turn, pre-migration characteristics and the intermediate characteristics work in tandem with English proficiency to determine social assimilation in the U.S., while cultural assimilation is primarily determined by pre-migration habits. A shift in focus to English use is desirable in studies of immigrant integration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-210
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Science Research
StatePublished - May 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Assimilation
  • Culture
  • English
  • Immigration
  • Integration
  • Language


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