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  The process by which nations or communities and the sub-nations or minorities within them intermix and became more similar. Terms with loosely comparable meaning include acculturation, adjustment and integration. The degree of assimilation is a vital influence on the level of residential segregation and geographers have frequently studied the two processes as they relate to urban immigrants. Factors influencing the rate of assimilation include ethnicity, religion, economic status, attitudes, education and intermarriage. A distinction may be made between: behavioural assimilation, implying a process whereby the members of a group acquire the memories, sentiments and attitudes of other groups and, by sharing their experience and history, are incorporated with them in a common cultural life; and structural assimilation, referring to the distribution of migrant ethnics through the groups and social systems of a society, including its system of occupational stratification. Differing political ideologies may underlie notions of assimilation (see also multiculturalism). (PEO)

Suggested Reading Boal, F.W. 1976: Ethnic residential segregation. In D.T. Herbert and R.J. Johns ton, eds, Social areas in cities, volume I, Spatial processes and forms. Chichester: John Wiley, ch. 2; Drudy, P.J., ed., 1985: The Irish in America: emigration, assimilation and impact. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Gordon, M.M. 1964: Assimilation in American life. New York: Oxford University Press; Petersen, W. 1975: Population, 3rd edn. New York and London: Collier-Macmillan, ch. 4.



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