Sociologie Românească (Romanian Sociology), Vol. XIII, no. 1/2015, pp. 70-85.
The Romanian American Dream: Permanent Migration, Identity and Integration of Romanian Immigrants in the United States
Eliza Markley*, Darina Lepadatu**
Abstract: International migration is one of the most spectacular social changes that affected post-communist Romania. Despite a growing body of research on Romanian migration to Europe, there is a huge gap in the literature on Romanian immigration to the United States. In this paper, we reveal the dynamics of permanent migration to the US, how does the American dream look like for the Romanian immigrants, what are their motives for migration and their process of acculturation in the US. Two sets of theories were used. The first one focuses on the push and pull factors that contribute to Romanian migration to the United States, and the second one looks at Berry’s (1997) four stages of acculturation. Based on in-depth interviews with 33 Romanian immigrants in the United States and hundreds of hours of participant observation of Romanian communities in Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, the findings emphasize Romanians’ choice for integration in American society and the long term and achievement orientation for their migration. The study results also stress the positive influence of English proficiency, strong community support, young age at arrival, and length of residence on Romanian immigrants’ integration in the US. The Romanian American dream, grounded on career success and family stability, is the symbol used to describe the complex equation of high education, high-skill occupational status and low divorce that contributes to the successful integration of Romanian immigrants into the American society.
Keywords: Romanian migration; permanent migration; identity; acculturation; integration; United States.
Cuvinte-cheie: migrația romanească; migrație permanentă; identitate; aculturație; integrare; SUA.