Abstract: Recent immigrants and their children are a growing component of the United States population, but how well they are adjusting is not well known. In this article I synthesize research regarding the main features of the immigrants’ economic status and, because most of their U.S.-born children are still in school, those children’s educational status. Immigrants themselves take various paths toward economic advancement, including opening businesses or working in particular occupations or niches found useful by their ethnic group. Better-educated immigrants tend to have higher incomes, but after a 10- or 20-year adjustment period most immigrants attain economic success. The children of immigrants become proficient in English by late in high school and are generally successful in school. They do better in school when their U.S. education builds upon their ethnic heritage and when they avoid detrimental aspects of American culture, but students who do not complete high school run a much greater risk of spending time in jail or prison. I explain how educational achievement varies by ethnic group, gender, race identity, and neighborhood character; the low percentage of college graduates among Mexican-Americans is an especially significant and not easily explained finding.
Gila Bend, Arizona: On the Road Somewhere Else
by Kevin Romig, 33
Abstract: Gila Bend, Arizona, is a locale abounding with dichotomies: lying on a well-defined transportation corridor, it has rarely been a destination; it is a complex place as it continually redefines itself through time due to large economic swings, but its residents extol a grounded vision of quick fixes; the town is located in Maricopa County, which is rapidly growing in both population and economic output, but the town has been plagued by population stagnation and economic decline; it is situated in the midst of the arid Sonoran Desert, yet by regional standards, it has plenty of water. While this town may seem to be bypassed on many different levels within a region of intense growth, this is a place that uses its derelict landscape and poor economy in a strategic way. Gila Bend accepts the unwanted economic activities that bolster the growth in the region. Whether it is power generation, hazardous waste recycling, or a large prison population, Gila Bend’s backyard is open for business.
Two Russian Molokan Agricultural Villages in the Intermountain West
by Marshall E. Bowen, 53
Abstract: Agricultural villages established in the second decade of the 20th century by Russian Molokans in Glendale, Arizona, and Park Valley, Utah, bore striking similarities, with long, narrow house lots, dwellings aligned along a single village street, and outlying lands allocated for crop production. With the passage of time, the Glendale village lost much of its Russian flavor as families responded to individual opportunities, personal tragedies, and economic disaster by moving away. In contrast, the Park Valley village was struck down by drought and crop failure. Today, the Glendale village is inhabited entirely by non-Molokans, and is on the verge of being consumed by suburban sprawl, while the Park Valley village, abandoned almost 90 years ago, lies nearly hidden in a vast expanse of rangeland. But at each site it is still possible to find traces of a traditional Old World settlement pattern that was unable to survive in the face of new cultural, economic, and physical conditions that the villages’ immigrant residents encountered in the American West.
An Examination of Wetland Diversity in Ventura County, California
by Shawna Dark, Regan Maas, Jason Mejia, and Namrata Belliappa, 79
Abstract: Despite the importance of documenting wetlands for legislative and conservation purposes, little work has been done to provide a regional inventory of wetlands in southern California. In this paper, we begin the process of documenting the diversity and distribution of wetlands in southern California and provide an analysis of the spatial distribution of wetlands relative to potential human impact. Using photointerpretation and classification techniques from the National Wetlands Inventory, we determined that in our Ventura County study area there were a total of 166 unique wetland classifications and 8,805 wetland polygons inventoried. The Palustrine wetland classification represented the greatest amount of wetlands, followed by Riverine and Lacustrine systems. Nineteen percent of the wetland areas inventoried were given special modifiers indicating they were either modified or human-made. A total 19,916 acres of wetland area were found to be in places facing significant human impact and therefore determined to be a conservation priority. Although 90 percent of original wetland area in California has been lost, Ventura County continues to display a wealth of diversity in wetland type. Contrary to common belief, as evidenced by this Ventura County project, southern California is characterized by significant wetland diversity.
Mapping Race and Ethnicity: The Influence of James Allen
by Emily Skop, 94
Abstract: The theme of mapping race and ethnicity has been carried forward by many geographers, most by analyzing patterns to understand residential geographies and exploring processes of spatial assimilation of various racial and ethnic groups. James Allen’s work is considered by many to be among the finest, and most classic, examples of this type of research. Through the eyes of a young scholar, this paper discusses the influence of James Allen’s work on my own explorations in racial and ethnic geography. The paper outlines the themes and principal geographic concerns of James Allen’s research and suggests how his work continues to inspire new racial and ethnic “mappings” and geographies.
President’s Plenary Session
Bringing Geography to the Public Through Books
by James Allen, 105
Writing for the Public/Writing for the Academy: Competing Goals with Uncertain Outcomes
by William A. V. Clark, 108
Writing Books for a General Audience: Motivations, Goals, and Challenges
by Larry Ford, 119
Reaching Beyond the Walls of the Academy: Publishing Scholarly Books in Geography for the General Market
Susan Wiley Hardwick, 132
Editorial Notes, 150