Rubén G. Rumbaut is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine, where he is also affiliated with its School of Education; and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In the 1980s he conducted seminal studies of refugees from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, and of their children’s adaptations in U.S. public schools. Subsequent studies examined the educational achievement of immigrant students and language minorities in California. He co-directed the landmark Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study (CILS), following the trajectories into adulthood of thousands of youth representing dozens of different nationalities, primarily from Latin America and Asia, the San Diego half of which is still ongoing. That study has generated numerous publications, including Legacies: The Story of the Immigrant Second Generation (with Alejandro Portes), which won the Distinguished Scholarship Award of the American Sociological Association and the Thomas and Znaniecki Award for best book in the immigration field, and was nominated for the Grawemeyer award in education.
Since 2002 he has been involved in comparative research on transitions to adulthood with multiethnic samples in field sites across the United States; co-directed the Immigration and Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles study, comparing the educational and socioeconomic progress of 1.5 and second-generation young adults with native-parentage white, African American, and Mexican American peers; and, with a panel of the National Academy of Sciences, worked on two authoritative volumes on the Hispanic population of the United States. He is currently working on a book with Cynthia Feliciano which extends the longitudinal study of the original CILS sample in San Diego across 25 years of their life course. He presented preliminary findings from that wok in the 2017 AERA Wallace Foundation Distinguished Lecture, “From Middle School to Middle Adulthood: Education and the Social Mobility on the Immigrant Second Generation in an Age of Inequality.” Among his other books are Immigrant America: A Portrait (with Alejandro Portes); Ethnicities: Children of Immigrants in America (with Portes); On the Frontier of Adulthood: Theory, Research, and Public Policy (with Richard Settersten and Frank Furstenberg); Immigration Research for a New Century: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (with Nancy Foner and Steven J. Gold); and California’s Immigrant Children: Theory, Research, and Implications for Educational Policy (with Wayne Cornelius).