Research Paper

The Strength of Social Ties: Immigrant Parents and the Transition Out of Poverty
Dina Okamoto (Affiliate in Sociology) with graduate researcher Valerie Feldman (Sociology)

This project on community-based organizations (CBOs) and immigrant parents examines how immigrant parents utilize the resources provided by CBOs to transition out of poverty. With the devolution of the welfare state, CBOs are now a key part of the mobility process for low-income individuals and newcomers. CBOs provide information and services related to education, housing, and work, supplementing or even replacing the social capital generated from family social ties.

Through field work and in-depth interviews with 30 Mexican and Filipino immigrant parents in two high-poverty San Francisco neighborhoods, the Tenderloin and South of Market, they gather information about the different types of resources that immigrant parents access at CBOs, how parents view neighborhood CBOs and the relationships they build with the people within them, whether they use CBO services rather than TANF and other forms of welfare support, what resources friends and family provide, and other strategies that they use to survive or to move out of poverty.