A multilevel analysis of social ties and social cohesion among Latinos and their neighborhoods: results from Chicago

J Urban Health. 2009 Sep;86(5):745-59. doi: 10.1007/s11524-009-9375-2. Epub 2009 Jun 19.


Research suggests that, among Latinos, there are health benefits associated with living in a neighborhood populated with coethnics. While social networks and social cohesion are the proposed explanation for the salubrious effect and are assumed to be characteristics of Latino immigrant enclaves, evidence for this is limited. We used multilevel regression to test the relative contribution of individual race/ethnicity and neighborhood concentration of Mexican Americans as predictors of social networks and social cohesion. After accounting for personal characteristics, we found a negative association between neighborhood concentration of Mexican Americans and social cohesion. Among Latinos, living in a neighborhood with increased coethnics was associated with increased social ties. Compared to non-Latino whites, Mexican Americans reported more social ties but lower social cohesion. Contrary to the assumption that Mexican immigrant enclaves beget social cohesion, we did not find this to be true in Chicago neighborhoods.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chicago
  • Data Collection
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Multilevel Analysis
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Support*
  • Socioeconomic Factors