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The Educational Attainment of Second Generation Immigrants in Canada: Analysis based on the General Social Survey


  • Kucera, Miroslav


Using data from the 2001 General Social Survey, this study focused on differences in educational attainment between the children of immigrants to Canada, referred to as second-generation immigrants, and similarly-aged children of Canadian-born parents. Two definitions of second-generation immigrants were introduced. The first considered a Canadian resident with at least one immigrant parent to be a second-generation immigrant, while the second definition required that both parents were foreign-born. All first-generation immigrants were excluded from the sample, except those who had arrived in Canada at the age of 9 or younger; these young immigrants were then included among the second-generation immigrants. The results show that second-generation immigrants did better in terms of schooling attainment than their peers born to Canadian parents. Although a part of the observed difference was explained by differences in individual characteristics, a significant disparity remained even after controlling for them. Moreover, the main result of the children of immigrants being, on average, more educated than the children of the Canadianborn was robust towards different definitions of second-generation immigrants, and held for both men and women.

Suggested Citation

  • Kucera, Miroslav, 2008. "The Educational Attainment of Second Generation Immigrants in Canada: Analysis based on the General Social Survey," MPRA Paper 14036, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:14036

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Aydemir, Abdurrahman & Sweetman, Arthur, 2006. "First and Second Generation Immigrant Educational Attainment and Labor Market Outcomes: A Comparison of the United States and Canada," IZA Discussion Papers 2298, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Ira N. Gang & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2000. "Is Child like Parent? Educational Attainment and Ethnic Origin," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(3), pages 550-569.
    3. Christian Dustmann & Nikolaos Theodoropoulos, 2010. "Ethnic minority immigrants and their children in Britain," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(2), pages 209-233, April.
    4. Christopher Worswick, 2004. "Adaptation and inequality: children of immigrants in Canadian schools," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(1), pages 53-77, February.
    5. George J. Borjas, 1994. "Long-Run Convergence of Ethnic Skill Differentials: The Children and Grandchildren of the Great Migration," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(4), pages 553-573, July.
    6. George J. Borjas, 1992. "Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 123-150.
    7. Regina T. Riphahn, 2003. "Cohort effects in the educational attainment of second generation immigrants in Germany: An analysis of census data," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 16(4), pages 711-737, November.
    8. Veall, Michael R & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 1996. " Pseudo-R-[superscript 2] Measures for Some Common Limited Dependent Variable Models," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(3), pages 241-259, September.
    9. Borjas, George J, 1994. "Immigrant Skills and Ethnic Spillovers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 7(2), pages 99-118.
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    Cited by:

    1. George Messinis, 2009. "Earnings and Languages in the Family: Second-Generation Australians," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 85(s1), pages 59-73, September.
    2. Kristina A. Schapiro, 2009. "Migration and Educational Outcomes of Children," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2009-57, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), revised Oct 2009.

    More about this item


    educational attainment; second-generation immigrants;

    JEL classification:

    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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