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Age of entry and the high school performance of immigrant youth

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  • Stiefel, Leanna
  • Schwartz, Amy Ellen
  • Conger, Dylan

Abstract

In 2005, immigrants exceeded 12% of the US population, with the highest concentrations in large metropolitan areas. While considerable research has focused on how immigrants affect local wages and housing prices, less research has asked how immigrants fare in US urban public schools. Previous studies find that foreign-born students outperform native-born students in their elementary and middle school years, but urban policymakers and practitioners continue to raise concerns about educational outcomes of immigrants arriving in their high school years. We use data on a large cohort of New York City (NYC) public high school students to examine how the performance of students who immigrate during high school (teen immigrants) differs from that of students who immigrate during middle school (tween immigrants) or elementary school (child immigrants), relative to otherwise similar native-born students. Contrary to prior studies, our difference-in-difference estimates suggest that, ceteris paribus, teen immigrants do well compared to native-born migrants, and that the foreign-born advantage is relatively large among the teen (im)migrants. That said, our findings provide cause for concern about the performance of limited English proficient students, blacks and Hispanics and, importantly, teen migrants. In particular, switching school districts in the high school years - that is, student mobility across school districts - may be more detrimental than immigration per se. Results are robust to alternative specifications and cohorts, including a cohort of Miami students.

Suggested Citation

  • Stiefel, Leanna & Schwartz, Amy Ellen & Conger, Dylan, 2010. "Age of entry and the high school performance of immigrant youth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 303-314, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:67:y:2010:i:3:p:303-314
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lee, Min-Ah, 2011. "Disparity in disability between native-born non-Hispanic white and foreign-born Asian older adults in the United States: Effects of educational attainment and age at immigration," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(8), pages 1249-1257, April.
    2. NONNEMAN, Walter, 2012. "School achievement and failure of immigrant children in Flanders," Working Papers 2012008, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics.
    3. Umut Özek & David N. Figlio, 2016. "Cross-Generational Differences in Educational Outcomes in the Second Great Wave of Immigration," NBER Working Papers 22262, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Budy Resosudarmo & Daniel Suryadarma, 2011. "The Effect of Childhood Migration on Human Capital Accumulation: Evidence from Rural-Urban Migrants in Indonesia," Departmental Working Papers 2011-02, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
    5. Marigee Bacolod & Marcos A. Rangel, 2017. "Economic Assimilation and Skill Acquisition: Evidence From the Occupational Sorting of Childhood Immigrants," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(2), pages 571-602, April.

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