Are immigrants in Massachusetts accessing welfare? : an exploratory study of families in Boston and the Merrimack Valley
Author(s)Shamasunder, Reshma, 1973-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
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A survey was conducted of forty four immigrant heads of households in Boston and the Merrimack Valley to ascertain the employment status of household heads and the use of public benefits by immigrant headed families. The study surveyed Spanish and Portuguese speaking individuals at 300% or below of the poverty level with children under the age of 18. The survey measured demographic and employment characteristics of respondents, use of public benefits among all family members, and barriers individuals faced in accessing benefits for their families. The researcher hypothesized that immigrants with lower educational status and poor English proficiency would earn lower wages than individuals with higher educational status and better English proficiency. Additionally, it was also hypothesized that families headed by undocumented immigrants, despite the presence of citizen children, would be the least likely of all groups of immigrant headed households to access public benefits. Findings revealed that immigrants with low educational status and poor English proficiency indeed earned lower wages than individuals with higher educational status and better English proficiency. Results regarding benefits use among families revealed interesting patterns of benefits use. As hypothesized, families headed by undocumented immigrants had low rates of health benefits, food stamps, and cash aid usage. However, families headed by permanent residents and temporary visa holders also had low rates of welfare usage. Proposed reasons for these low rates of public benefits usage include linguistic barriers, fears of deportation among undocumented immigrants, confusion about eligibility criteria, and bureaucratic responses towards immigrant families. The conclusion includes policy recommendations for addressing these issues and suggestions for further research.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2000.Includes bibliographical references (p. 54-55).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.