Scholars on the Road

The award-winning Scholars on the Road Lecture Series brings the fascinating research of the College’s faculty experts to alumni audiences in Washington, D.C., New York City, Boston, Rochester, Buffalo and beyond. From the arts to the humanities and the social sciences, this series represents the incredibly diverse disciplines the College of Arts and Sciences comprises.

The Scholars on the Road Lecture Series events are open to alumni and feature a reception as part of the program.

Spring 2018 Lineup

Immigration Debates
Professor Robert Adelman, UB Department of Sociology

Meet the Scholar

Professor Robert Adelman
Professor Robert Adelman

A glimpse into “Immigration Debates” with Robert Adelman:

From debates about undocumented migration to sanctuary cities, immigration is a hot topic these days. And metropolises such as Chicago are certainly feeling the impact of changes to immigration policy in the Trump administration. We talked with Professor Robert Adelman about his research on the relationship between immigration and crime.

In a paper published in 2017 in the Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, I, along with my colleagues Lesley Reid, Gail Markle, Saskia Weiss, and Charles Jaret, studied the impact of immigration on violent and property crime rates in 200 metropolitan areas with data from 1970 to 2010.  Examining data over time allowed us to assess whether the relationship between immigration and crime changed with the broader U.S. economy and the origin and number of immigrants. Our analyses indicate that for murder, robbery, burglary, and larceny, as immigration increased, crime decreased, on average, in American metropolitan areas. These associations are strong and stable evidence that immigration does not cause crime to increase in U.S. metropolitan areas, and may even help reduce it. In fact, there is a large literature that supports our research findings.

Studying the relationship between immigration and crime occurs at two levels. At the individual level, foreign-born residents in the United States are consistently found to have lower rates of crime than the native-born. At the macro level, which can include the study of immigration and crime across neighborhoods, cities, and metropolitan areas, the vast majority of scholarly research shows that, on average, as immigration increases, crime decreases (or that immigration has no effect on crime). When scholars take into account unemployment rates, poverty levels, and population characteristics, among other factors, the negative (or non-) effect of immigration on crime holds.

This and related research are important to discuss because there are many misconceptions about the impact of immigration on crime.


About Professor Adelman

Robert Adelman is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. An urban sociologist studying social stratification in the U.S., he analyzes patterns, trends and processes related to residential segregation and neighborhood inequality, immigration, internal migration and labor force differences by race, ethnicity and nativity. Adelman published Race, Space, and Exclusion: Segregation and Beyond in Metropolitan America (with Christopher Mele) in 2015 (Routledge). His research has appeared in American Sociological Review, Demography, Social Forces and other journals. Adelman is a former Book Review Editor of City & Community and is currently an Associate Editor for the journal.