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Age at Arrival, English Proficiency, and Social Assimilation Among U.S. Immigrants

Author

Listed:
  • Hoyt Bleakley

    () (Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago, NBER, and CReAM)

  • Aimee Chin

    () (Department of Economics, University of Houston, and NBER)

Abstract

Are U.S. immigrants' English proficiency and social outcomes the result of their cultural preferences, or of more fundamental constraints? Using 2000 Census microdata, we relate immigrants' marriage, fertility and residential location variables to their age at arrival in the U.S., and in particular whether that age fell within the "critical period" of language acquisition. We interpret the differences between younger and older arrivers as effects of English-language skills and construct an instrumental variable for English-language skills. Two-stage-least-squares estimates suggest that English proficiency increases the likelihood of divorce and intermarriage. It decreases fertility and, for some groups, ethnic enclave residence.

Suggested Citation

  • Hoyt Bleakley & Aimee Chin, 2009. "Age at Arrival, English Proficiency, and Social Assimilation Among U.S. Immigrants," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0913, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:0913
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli, 2006. "Fertility: The Role of Culture and Family Experience," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 552-561, 04-05.
    2. Xin Meng & Robert G. Gregory, 2005. "Intermarriage and the Economic Assimilation of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 135-176, January.
    3. Brian Duncan & Stephen J. Trejo, 2007. "Ethnic Identification, Intermarriage, and Unmeasured Progress by Mexican Americans," NBER Chapters,in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 229-268 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul W, 1995. "The Endogeneity between Language and Earnings: International Analyses," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 246-288, April.
    5. David N. Weil, 2005. "Accounting for the Effect of Health on Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 11455, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Paul A. David, 2005. "Two Centuries of American Macroeconomic Growth From Exploitation of Resource Abundance to Knowledge-Driven Development," Macroeconomics 0502021, EconWPA.
    7. Gray Swicegood & Frank Bean & Elizabeth Stephen & Wolfgang Opitz, 1988. "Language usage and fertility in the Mexican-origin population of the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 25(1), pages 17-33, February.
    8. Paul A. David, 2005. "THE TALE OF TWO TRAVERSES Innovation and Accumulation in the First Two Centuries of U.S. Economic Growth," Macroeconomics 0502019, EconWPA.
    9. Paul A. David, 2005. "Reforming the Taxation of Human Capital: A Modest Proposal for Promoting Economic Growth," HEW 0502002, EconWPA.
    10. Hoyt Bleakley & Aimee Chin, 2004. "Language Skills and Earnings: Evidence from Childhood Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 481-496, May.
    11. Summers, Robert & Heston, Alan, 1988. "A New Set of International Comparisons of Real Product and Price Levels Estimates for 130 Countries, 1950-1985," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(1), pages 1-25, March.
    12. Hoyt Bleakley & Aimee Chin, 2008. "What Holds Back the Second Generation?: The Intergenerational Transmission of Language Human Capital Among Immigrants," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(2), pages 267-298.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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