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Cross-Generational Differences in Educational Outcomes in the Second Great Wave of Immigration (WP-16-10)

Umut Özek, David Figlio

The researchers make use of a new data source—matched birth records and longitudinal student records in Florida—to study the degree to which student outcomes differ across successive immigrant generations. Specifically, they investigate whether first-, second-, and third-generation Asian and Hispanic immigrants in Florida perform differently on reading and mathematics tests, and whether they are differentially likely to get into serious trouble in school, to be truant from school, to graduate from high school, or to be ready for college upon high school graduation. They find evidence suggesting that early-arriving first-generation immigrants perform better than do second-generation immigrants, and second-generation immigrants perform better than third-generation immigrants. Among first-generation immigrants, the earlier the arrival, the better the students tend to perform. These patterns of findings hold for both Asian and Hispanic students, and suggest a general pattern of successively reduced achievement—beyond a transitional period for recent immigrants—in the generations following the generation that immigrated to the United States.

Umut Özek, Senior Researcher, American Institutes for Research; Affiliated Researcher, National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research

David FiglioOrrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy and of Economics; Director and Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University; and Faculty Research Associate, NBER 

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