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

  • Hoyt Bleakley

    ()

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

  • Aimee Chin

    ()

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

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.

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Paper provided by Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London in its series CReAM Discussion Paper Series with number 0913.

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Date of creation: May 2009
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Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:0913
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  1. 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.
  2. 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 246-88, April.
  3. 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.
  4. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli, 2005. "Fertility: The Role of Culture and Family Experience," NBER Working Papers 11569, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kristin F. Butcher, 1994. "Black immigrants in the United States: A comparison with native blacks and other immigrants," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(2), pages 265-284, January.
  6. David N. Weil, 2007. "Accounting for The Effect of Health on Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1265-1306, 08.
  7. 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.
  8. Gray Swicegood & Frank Bean & Elizabeth Stephen & Wolfgang Opitz, 1988. "Language usage and fertility in the Mexican-origin population of the United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 17-33, February.
  9. 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.
  10. Paul A. David, 2005. "Reforming the Taxation of Human Capital: A Modest Proposal for Promoting Economic Growth," HEW 0502002, EconWPA.
  11. Paul A. David, 2005. "Two Centuries of American Macroeconomic Growth From Exploitation of Resource Abundance to Knowledge-Driven Development," Macroeconomics 0502021, EconWPA.
  12. 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.
  13. Paul A. David, 2005. "The Tale of Two Traverses: Innovation and Accumulation in the First Two Centuries of U.S. Economic Growth," Discussion Papers 05-022, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
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