Demography Race, Ethnicity, & Immigration


My research provides a comprehensive account of black immigrants’ economic, political and residential incorporation over time and across place. Using quantitative methods, I study black immigrants’ occupational, wage, voting, housing, and residential patterns. As a social demographer, I use these analyses to re-examine our theoretical understanding of both immigrant incorporation and racial stratification. Specifically, my work investigates whether black immigrants have – like Asian immigrants in the U.S. – attained a model minority status in their host country or if black immigrants’ race confines them to the bottom of their racially stratified host society. I find that – due to the rigidity of racial boundaries – black immigrants are largely unable to escape racial discrimination resulting in outcomes similar to (if not worse than) native-born black individuals in the United States and the most marginalized groups in Europe. Because the U.S. is one of the largest immigrant receiving countries in the world, the patterns observed could be assumed to occur in other immigrant receiving countries  however, there is a great deal of cross-national variation in immigrant incorporation. My current work uses cross-national comparative research to empirically test assumptions made in theories of immigrant incorporation.

Curriculum Vitae

Selected Publications

  • Tesfai, R. 2020. Immigrants’ Occupational Segregation in France: “Brown Collar” Jobs or a Sub-Saharan African Disadvantage?, Ethnic and Racial Studies. 43(15). DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2019.1686162
  • Tesfai, R., Ruther M., Madden J. February 2020. Precursors to Neighborhood Revitalization? Immigrant Growth and Neighborhood Change in New and Traditional Settlement Areas. Urban Geography. 41(2): 268-292. DOI: 10.1080/02723638.2019.1647755
  • Tesfai, R. June 2019. Double Minority Status and Neighborhoods: Examining the Primacy of Race in Black Immigrants’ Racial and Socioeconomic Segregation. City & Community. 18(2): 509-528.
  • Thomas, K., Tesfai, R. February 2019. Race, Ethnicity, the Political Incorporation of Black Immigrants: an Examination of Evidence from Presidential Elections Won by Barack Obama. Journal of International Migration and Integration. 20(1): 101-120.
  • Tesfai, R. February 2019. Does Country Context Matter? Sub-Saharan and North African Immigrants’ Labour Market Outcomes in France and Spain. International Migration. 57(1): 298-317.

Courses Taught

  • Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences
  • Ethnicity and the Immigrant Experience in the United States
  • Immigration and Inequality