Rubén G. Rumbaut, UC Irvine professor of sociology, is the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Career Award from the American Sociological Association Section on International Migration.  

Rumbaut is internationally known and widely cited for his research on children and young adults raised in immigrant families of diverse nationalities and socioeconomic classes. He has authored, co-authored or edited numerous publications on the topic, including 14 books – with two more forthcoming. Rumbaut earned two best book awards from the American Sociological Association and, as a National Academy of Sciences panel member, contributed to two authoritative volumes on the U.S. Hispanic population. In 2013, he was elected to the National Academy of Education in recognition of his outstanding contributions in educational research and policy development.

Rumbaut mines data from large projects he has directed since the 1980s, including two studies of refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos and how their children fared in San Diego public schools. Subsequent efforts looked at the educational achievement of immigrant students and language minorities throughout California.

Since 1991, Rumbaut has co-led the landmark Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study, following subjects from dozens of nationalities in South Florida and Southern California as they become adults. From 2002-08, he co-directed the Immigration & Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles study, which focused on 1.5 and second-generation young adults of Mexican, Salvadoran, Guatemalan, Filipino, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and additional ethnic origins, compared with third-generation peers. Numerous follow-ups by Rumbaut and others have been based on this research.

He’s currently studying youth populations from Ameca, Mexico, to see how they differ in educational status and transition to adulthood. Coming of age between 2008 and 2012, some stayed in their hometown and some either immigrated to California or were born here to immigrant parents. The study also factors in whether the young people are undocumented or documented immigrants or U.S. citizens.

His research has been supported by the Russell Sage Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, National Science Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement, and National Institute of Child Health & Human Development.

Rumbaut is a frequent keynote speaker at international conferences and is consulted regularly on immigration by national media. He has been a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation and a fellow at Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

A native of Havana, Rumbaut earned a bachelor’s in sociology-anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s and doctorate in sociology at Brandeis University. He taught at UC San Diego, San Diego State University and Michigan State University before coming to UC Irvine in 2002.

Rumbaut was formally recognized for his achievements at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting, held August 16-19 in San Francisco.  


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