Richard Alba

Distinguished Professor

Richard AlbaDistinguished Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, is a sociologist and demographer. His research interests include race, ethnicity, and migration and urban sociology.

The seeds of Richard Alba’s interest in ethnicity were sown during his childhood in the Bronx of the 1940s and 1950s and nurtured intellectually at Columbia University, where he received his undergraduate and graduate education, completing his PhD in 1974.

After teaching at the State University of New York for almost three decades, he returned to the City University of New York, where he began his teaching career, assuming the position of Distinguished Professor at the Graduate Center in 2008.

He has been elected Vice President of the American Sociological Association and President of the Sociological Research Association.  He has held a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and has been a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. He ia member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

His latest book, The Great Demographic Illusion (Princeton University Press, September 2020), explores why the number of young Americans from mixed families is surging and what this means for the country’s future.

His many other books include Strangers No More, co-authored with Nancy Foner (Princeton University Press, 2015), Blurring the Color Line (Harvard University Press, 2012) and Remaking the American Mainstream, co-authored with Victor Nee (Harvard University Press, 2005).


  • Quantitative methods;
  • race, ethnicity and migration;
  • urban sociology
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“Actors do not behave or decide as atoms outside a social context ... Their attempts at purposive action are instead embedded in concrete, ongoing systems of social relations.”— Mark Granovetter