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August 18, 2015
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v2.1 Reference

The New Bostonians

How Immigrants Have Transformed the Metro Area since the 1960s

Among the most consequential pieces of Great Society legislation, the Immigration Act of 1965 opened the nation's doors to large-scale immigration from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. A half century later, the impact of the "new immigration" is evident in the transformation of the country's demographics, economy, politics, and culture, particularly in urban America.

In The New Bostonians, Marilynn S. Johnson examines the historical confluence of recent immigration and urban transformation in greater Boston, a region that underwent dramatic decline after World War II. Since the 1980s, the Boston area has experienced an astounding renaissance—a development, she argues, to which immigrants have contributed in numerous ways. From 1970 to 2010, the percentage of foreign-born residents of the city more than doubled, representing far more diversity than earlier waves of immigration. Like the older Irish, Italian, and other European immigrant groups whose labor once powered the region's industrial economy, these newer migrants have been crucial in re-building the population, labor force, and metropolitan landscape of the New Boston, although the fruits of the new prosperity have not been equally shared.

About the Author

Marilynn S. Johnson is professor of history at Boston College. She is author of numerous books, including Street Justice: A History of Police Violence in New York City. Please see Johnson's website at


"Many researchers and scholars have hinted at, talked about, and explored the possibility of writing a history of the new immigrants in the Boston area. Johnson has taken on this prodigious task and produced a very strong piece of work."—Paul Watanabe, University of Massachusetts Boston

"The Boston case is a special one, as the city has been neglected by immigrant historians, except for the pre-1945 era and the issues of religion and politics. Johnson is bringing to light another history, one of immigration in recent years."—David Reimers, author of Unwelcome Strangers: American Identity and the Turn against Immigration

"The book is well written and organized, makes for interesting reading, and presents a thoughtful and balanced interpretation. Recommended."—Choice

"Drawing from a rich, multidisciplinary literature, including scholarly and journalistic work, archival research, and the oral histories of several ethnic groups, this well-structured and comprehensive study offers an impressive depth of historical and empirical data about Boston and its suburbs: histories, demographic structure, urban and social geographies, urban economy/ethnic entrepreneurship, patterns of community life, immigrant religion, political incorporation, urban planning, challenges, and changing urban landscapes. . . . Johnson has delivered an innovative, well-organized book of interest to academics and nonacademic alike."—Journal of Urban Affairs
University of Massachusetts Press

9781625341471 : the-new-bostonians-johnson
Paperback / softback
304 Pages
$26.95 USD

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