Geography of the Midwestern Multilingual Student: the Possibility of Upward Mobility

  • Lyndsie Marie SchultzEmail author


Immigrants to the USA continue to grow more diverse by country of origin, and in location of settlement. Newcomers often settle in concentrated patterns, and questions remain about the ability of schools to provide the academic, language, and social resources these students may need for integration into American society. Many school districts in the Midwestern United States have seen an increase in the diversity of children from multilingual backgrounds as the result of immigrant and refugee settlement. Since immigrant groups settle within enclaves, there may be factors relating immigrant language background, school district quality, and upward mobility that are spatially correlated. This article uses geographic weighted regression (GWR) to examine the spatial relationship between multilingual students and indicators of opportunity structure in the St. Louis, Missouri metropolitan region. St. Louis was chosen because of its rich history of European immigration, Bosnian refugee resettlement, and intense racial segregation. Results suggest that multilingual students in the St. Louis metropolitan region are spatially concentrated, but only certain language groups are located within school districts that provide resources for possible integration and upward mobility. This analysis demonstrates the importance of examining the local context of settlement for multilingual students and the opportunity structure available to them through their school district.


Context of reception Geographic weighted regression (GWR) Immigration Newcomers Racial segregation 



The author would like to thank Professor William F. Tate, IV and Dr. Mark Hogrebe for their support during the development of this manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Educational Leadership and Policy AnalysisUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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