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The Complexity of Immigrant Generations: Implications for Assessing the Socioeconomic Integration of Hispanics and Asians

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  • Brian Duncan
  • Stephen J Trejo

Abstract

Much of the socioeconomic mobility achieved by U.S. immigrant families takes place across rather than within generations. When assessing the long-term integration of immigrants, it is therefore important to analyze differences not just between the foreign-born and U.S-born, but also across generations of the U.S.-born. Because of data limitations, however, virtually all studies of the later-generation descendants of immigrants rely on subjective measures of ethnic self-identification rather than arguably more objective measures based on the countries of birth of the respondent and his ancestors. In this context, biases can arise from “ethnic attrition†(e.g., U.S.-born individuals who do not self-identify as Hispanic despite having ancestors who were immigrants from a Spanish-speaking country). Analyzing 1994- 2010 data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), we present evidence that such ethnic attrition is sizeable and selective for the second- and third-generation populations of key Hispanic and Asian immigrant groups. In addition, our results suggest that ethnic attrition generates measurement biases that vary across national origin groups in direction as well as magnitude, and that correcting for these biases is likely to raise the socioeconomic standing of the U.S.-born descendants of most Hispanic immigrants relative to their Asian counterparts. Finally, although changes to the CPS Hispanic origin and race questions adopted in 2003 have substantially lowered attrition rates for second- and third-generation Hispanics and Asians, ethnic attrition remains a significant issue even with the improved questionnaire. [IZA Discussion Paper No. 6276]. URL:[http://ftp.iza.org/dp6276.pdf].

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  • Brian Duncan & Stephen J Trejo, 2012. "The Complexity of Immigrant Generations: Implications for Assessing the Socioeconomic Integration of Hispanics and Asians," Working Papers id:4753, eSocialSciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:4753
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    1. Ha Trong Nguyen & Luke B. Connelly & Huong Thu Le & Francis Mitrou & Catherine L. Taylor & Stephen R. Zubrick, 2020. "Ethnicity differentials in academic achievements: the role of time investments," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 33(4), pages 1381-1418, October.
    2. Delia Furtado & Stephen J. Trejo, 2013. "Interethnic marriages and their economic effects," Chapters, in: Amelie F. Constant & Klaus F. Zimmermann (ed.), International Handbook on the Economics of Migration, chapter 15, pages 276-292, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Konrad B Burchardi & Thomas Chaney & Tarek A Hassan, 2019. "Migrants, Ancestors, and Foreign Investments," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(4), pages 1448-1486.
    4. Konrad Buchardi & Thomas Chaney & Tarek Hassan, 2019. "Migrants, Ancestors and Foreign Investments," SciencePo Working papers hal-03260191, HAL.
    5. Patrice Dion & Éric Caron-Malenfant & Chantal Grondin & Dominic Grenier, 2015. "Long-Term Contribution of Immigration to Population Renewal in Canada: A Simulation," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 41(1), pages 109-126, March.
    6. Nguyen, Ha Trong & Connelly, Luke & Le, Huong Thu & Mitrou, Francis & Taylor, Catherine & Zubrick, Stephen, 2018. "Explaining the evolution of ethnicity differentials in academic achievements: The role of time investments," MPRA Paper 90534, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Konrad B Buchardi & Thomas Chaney & Tarek A Hassan, 2018. "Migrants, Ancestors and Foreign Investments," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/4j5snkuat19, Sciences Po.
    8. Duncan, Brian & Grogger, Jeffrey & Leon, Ana Sofia & Trejo, Stephen J., 2020. "New evidence of generational progress for Mexican Americans," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    9. David Figlio & Umut Özek, 2020. "Cross-Generational Differences in Educational Outcomes in the Second Great Wave of Immigration," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 15(4), pages 648-674, Fall.
    10. Francisca M. Antman & Brian Duncan & Stephen J. Trejo, 2022. "Hispanic Americans in the Labor Market: Patterns Over Time and Across Generations," NBER Working Papers 30750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Brian Duncan & Stephen J. Trejo, 2018. "Identifying the Later-Generation Descendants of U.S. Immigrants: Issues Arising from Selective Ethnic Attrition," The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, , vol. 677(1), pages 131-138, May.
    12. Oded Galor & Omer Ozak & Assaf Sarid, 2016. "Origins and Consequences of Lanquage Structures," Working Papers 2016-7, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    13. Ryan H. Murphy & Alex Nowrasteh, 2018. "The deep roots of economic development in the U.S. states: an application of Putterman and Weil (2010)," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 227-242, July.
    14. Assaf Sarid & Oded Galor, "undated". "Geographical Origins and Economic Consequences of Language Structures," Working Papers WP2017/4, University of Haifa, Department of Economics.
    15. Oded Galor & Ömer Özak & Assaf Sarid, 2020. "Linguistic Traits and Human Capital Formation," AEA Papers and Proceedings, American Economic Association, vol. 110, pages 309-313, May.
    16. Francisca M. Antman & Brian Duncan & Stephen J. Trejo, 2020. "Ethnic attrition, assimilation, and the measured health outcomes of Mexican Americans," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 33(4), pages 1499-1522, October.
    17. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Borra, Cristina & Wang, Chunbei, 2021. "Asian Discrimination in the Coronavirus Era: Implications for Business Formation and Survival," IZA Discussion Papers 14182, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    18. Giuntella, Osea, 2017. "Why does the health of Mexican immigrants deteriorate? New evidence from linked birth records," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 1-16.
    19. Furtado, Delia & Papps, Kerry L. & Theodoropoulos, Nikolaos, 2019. "Who Goes on Disability When Times Are Tough? The Role of Social Costs of Take-Up Among Immigrants," IZA Discussion Papers 12097, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. Bredtmann, Julia & Höckel, Lisa Sofie & Otten, Sebastian, 2020. "The intergenerational transmission of gender role attitudes: Evidence from immigrant mothers-in-law," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 101-115.
    21. Osea Giuntella, 2016. "Assimilation and Health: Evidence From Linked Birth Records of Second- and Third-Generation Hispanics," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(6), pages 1979-2004, December.
    22. Van C. Tran, 2018. "Social Mobility across Immigrant Generations: Recent Evidence and Future Data Requirements," The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, , vol. 677(1), pages 105-118, May.
    23. Burchardi, Konrad B. & Chaney, Thomas & Hassan, Tarek Alexander & Tarquinio, Lisa & Terry, Stephen, 2020. "Immigration, Innovation, and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 14719, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    24. Leticia Fernández & Sonya R. Porter & Sharon R. Ennis & Renuka Bhaskar, 2018. "Factors that Influence Change in Hispanic Identification: Evidence from Linked Decennial Census and American Community Survey Data," Working Papers 18-45, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    25. Nathaniel Hilger, 2016. "Upward Mobility and Discrimination: The Case of Asian Americans," NBER Working Papers 22748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    immigration; intergenerational progress; ethnic identity; Hispanics; Asians; U.S. immigrant families; Current Population Survey; CPS; Spanish; socioeconomic; children; adults; English; Mexican descent; Mexico; Mexican youth; higher-generation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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