Assessing the Scope of Immigrant Organizations: Official Undercounts and Actual Underrepresentation
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Gleeson, Shannon; Bloemraad, Irene
We examine the official scope and actual coverage of immigrant civil society in seven California cities using a widely employed 501(c)3 database. First, we code immigrant organizations in official data and compare their number and proportion with population statistics; we find substantially fewer immigrant organizations than we would expect. Second, we measure the organizational undercount of immigrant civil society by calculating the number of publicly present immigrant organizations not captured in official data. We do this for four immigrant-origin communities (Indian, Mexican, Portuguese, and Vietnamese) using 160 key informant interviews and extensive examination of directories and media (ethnic and mainstream). We find a notable undercount, which varies by city and immigrant group. Considering both underrepresentation and undercounts, Mexican-origin organizations seem at a particular disadvantage. Our findings carry important implications for resource inequalities and advocacy capacity in minority communities, underscoring the need for further research on the vitality of immigrant civil society.
civil society; immigrant; 501(c)3 organizations; undercount; civic inequality
Required Publisher Statement: © SAGE. Final version published as: Gleeson, S., & Bloemraad, I. (2012). Assessing the scope of immigrant organizations: Official undercounts and actual underrepresentation [Electronic version]. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 42(2), 346-370. doi: 10.1177/0899764011436105 Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.