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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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    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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