Methods and Models

A multidisciplinary (economics, social work, sociology, education, and community development) team will examine how the capitals of the newcomers are transformed into assets that eases integration into three Missouri communities with very different economic bases.

Diagram of Methods and Activitiesclick to enlarge

The following activities will be developed:

  1. Year One

    Focus groups will be conducted in each community to describe the existing networks and how these are used. A Photovoice activity (combining photography and narrative) will capture elements of community climate that facilitate integration from the newcomers' perspective.
  2. Year Two

    Three hundred Latinos who have settled in the last ten years in each region will be interviewed to identify which factors contribute to individual and family income earning strategies, and to their subjective and objective sense of well-being in the community.
  3. Year Three

    Completion of individual household surveys (at least 450 people). Data analysis.
  4. Year Four (extension)

    Data analysis, policy briefs, and manuals will be completed.

Guiding Questions

  • What are the strategies Latino immigrants use to integrate into communities and lead sustainable, high quality lives?
  • What factors facilitate or impede their economic integration?
Diagram of Strengths based modelclick to enlarge


  • Recommendations to help inform organizations and policy makers on the means that facilitate successful paths of integration.
  • Policy briefs will be written to guide local and state level institutions.
  • A handbook will be prepared on how to develop community integration indicators and how to use them for community development.
  • The investigators will write a book of community case studies and present findings at forums and Cambio de Colores.


  • Food Manufacturing, Agro-industries, Construction, Services, and Tourism are major pull factors in migration and result in significant demographic changes in rural communities where these businesses operate.
  • Growth in non-metro regions of the Midwest creates both challenges and opportunities for many small communities; new opportunities to revitalize rural areas; and questions on how local institutions and businesses can best adapt to facilitate integration of newcomers, as consumers, entrepreneurs, and community participants.
  • Failure to achieve integration in other parts of the country has resulted in an itinerant labor force or a segment of the local population who remains marginalized resulting in a reduction in the quality of life for the entire community.
301 Gentry Hall, MU
Columbia, MO, 65211-7040
Last modified: June 23 2016.