Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Second Generation and the Children of the Native Born: Comparisons and Refinements

Contents:

Author Info

  • Joel Perlmann

    (The Jerome Levy Economics Institute)

  • Roger Waldinger

    (The Jerome Levy Economics Institute)

Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    We have constructed some preliminary comparisons involving present-day immigrants and natives, as well as their children, based on the 1990 Census. In particular we are interested in whether the prognosis for the second generation is as grim as recent discussions of "second generation decline" and of "segmented assimilation" would warn (we discuss these theories at length in an earlier Institute working paper). This paper presents something of a preliminary answer; however, its major focus lies elsewhere, namely in stressing the need to drop the comparison of native and immigrant offspring as too crude to be of any use, whether for analytic understanding or for policy formulation. The ‘Hispanic' and ‘Asian' classification is only marginally preferable; indeed, the reason it is preferable at all will be made clear by our argument for a different kind of distinction. The crucial distinction, is between the Mexican immigrants and all other immigrants. We do not claim that no other immigrant groups are as disadvantageously situated as the Mexicans. However, the Mexicans are not only disadvantageously situated, they are also by far the largest group of immigrants, and even larger proportion of the second generation -- of the children of immigrants growing up in the United States. If the Mexicans are distinguished from the others, the effect is to see that the non-Mexican immigrants and their children are much better off than might otherwise appear -- and the resulting comparisons to native-born white and their children is especially instructive. Assuredly, some relatively large immigrant groups other than the Mexicans are in trouble, however, their numbers are simply swamped by the still larger immigrant groups that are more happily situated economically. Needles to say (we trust), in pointing out these trends, we are not presenting an argument about Mexican culture or character, our finding reflects the fact that the Mexican immigration is both the very largest and the most uniformly comprised of people who come as unskilled or semiskilled workers, with relatively little education, job skills, or capital. Nor is this observation in itself any recommendation as to policy along the Mexican border; that the Mexican immigration has this job profile must be seen, at a minimum, in the context of the need for low-skill jobs in the American economy. Our wish is not to take a stand on legislation to alter the immigrant mix but simply to show that thinking about that mix somewhat differently than has been common will be very helpful in understanding the social reality.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/mac/papers/9805/9805012.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 9805012.

    as in new window
    Length: 32 pages
    Date of creation: 28 May 1998
    Date of revision: 04 Mar 1999
    Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:9805012

    Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; prepared on IBM PC; to print on PostScript; pages: 32; figures: included
    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://128.118.178.162

    Related research

    Keywords:

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:9805012. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.