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The More Things Change: Immigrants and the Children of Immigrants in the 1940s, the 1970s, and the 1990s

In: Issues in the Economics of Immigration

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  • David Card
  • John DiNardo
  • Eugena Estes

Abstract

Rising immigrant inflows have substantially affected the size and composition of the U.S. workforce. They are also exerting an even bigger intergenerational effect: at present one-in-ten native born children are in the "second generation" - born to immigrant parents. In this paper we present a comparative perspective on the economic performance of immigrants and their children, utilizing data from the 1940 and 1970 Censuses, and from recent (1994-96) Current Population Surveys. We find important intergenerational links between the economic status of immigrant fathers and the economic status and marriage patterns of their native born sons and daughters. Much of this linkage works through education: children of better-educated immigrants have higher education, earn higher wages, and are more likely to marry outside of their father's ethnic group. Despite the dramatic shift in the country-of -origin composition of U.S. immigrants since 1940, we find that the rate of intergenerational assimilation has changed little. As in the pat, native born children on immigrants can expect to close 50-60- percent of the gap in relative economic performance experienced by their father's ethnic group.

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Bibliographic Info

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This chapter was published in:

  • George J. Borjas, 2000. "Issues in the Economics of Immigration," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number borj00-1, October.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 6057.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:6057

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    References

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    1. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, . "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 84-10, Chicago - Population Research Center.
    2. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
    3. Borjas, George J, 1985. "Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 463-89, October.
    4. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1994. "The Performance of Immigrants in the Canadian Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(3), pages 369-405, July.
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    Cited by:
    1. Aydemir, Abdurrahman Chen, Wen-Hao Corak, Miles, 2008. "Intergenerational Education Mobility Among the Children of Canadian Immigrants," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2008316e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    2. Constant, Amelie F. & Krause, Annabelle & Rinne, Ulf & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2010. "Reservation Wages of First and Second Generation Migrants," IZA Discussion Papers 5396, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Deborah Cobb-Clark & Trong-Ha Nguyen, 2010. "Immigration Background and the Intergenerational Correlation in Education," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2010n09, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    4. Christian Dustmann & Nikolaos Theodoropoulos, 2008. "Ethnic minority immigrants and their children in Britain," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 7-2008, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    5. Blau, Francine D. & Kahn, Lawrence M. & Liu, Albert Yung-Hsu & Papps, Kerry L., 2008. "The Transmission of Women's Fertility, Human Capital and Work Orientation across Immigrant Generations," IZA Discussion Papers 3732, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Goodwin-White, Jamie, 2006. "Dispersion or Concentration for the 1.5 Generation? Destination Choices of the Children of Immigrants in the US," IZA Discussion Papers 2269, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Akresh, Richard & Redstone Akresh, Ilana, 2008. "Using Achievement Tests to Measure Language Assimilation and Language Bias among Immigrant Children," IZA Discussion Papers 3532, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Yann Algan & Christian Dustmann & Albrecht Glitz & Alan Manning, 2009. "The Economic Situation of First- and Second-Generation Immigrants in France, Germany and the United Kingdom," CEP Discussion Papers dp0951, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    9. Corak, Miles & Curtis, Lori & Phipps, Shelley, 2010. "Economic Mobility, Family Background, and the Well-Being of Children in the United States and Canada," IZA Discussion Papers 4814, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Christian Dustmann & Albrecht Glitz, 2011. "Migration and Education," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1105, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.

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