Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Geography and Geology

Degree Type

Master of Science


In recent years, the United States has observed a significant increase in the Hispanic population within its borders through immigration. Since the 1980s, there has been a shift in the immigration and movement of the Hispanic population from border states to states in the southeastern United States. Many Hispanics, attracted by employment opportunities, have moved into growing metropolitan areas in the American South. In some of these cities, new Hispanic immigrants have created distinct enclaves. These enclaves provide almost all needs for the Hispanic community, such as shopping, healthcare, legal assistance, dining, employment, entertainment, and religion. This study examines the creation and functionality of the burgeoning Hispanic enclave within Davidson County, Tennessee through fieldwork, in-depth interviews with immigrants, volunteer work with Hispanic organizations, and census data. It suggests that the rise of this enclave, complete with Hispanic cultures, businesses, organizations, and churches, is interfering with the assimilation of Hispanics into the local community. The results from this study indicate that many Hispanics immigrants choose to function almost entirely within this enclave and that the enclave creates an environment in which immigrants do not need to intermingle with the host society. While Hispanic enclaves can serve as an important transition tool for many newly arrived immigrants, these findings suggest that ethnic enclaves can also have negative impacts on assimilation into the larger host community.


Human Geography