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The More Things Change: Immigrants and the Children of Immigrants in the 1940's, the 1970's, and the 1990's

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  • David Card
  • John DiNardo
  • Eugena Estes

Abstract

Rising immigrant inflows have substantially affected the size and composition of the U.S. workforce. They are also exerting an even bigger intergenerational effect: at present one-in-ten native born children are in the "second generation" - born to immigrant parents. In this paper we present a comparative perspective on the economic performance of immigrants and their children, utilizing data from the 1940 and 1970 Censuses, and from recent (1994-96) Current Population Surveys. We find important intergenerational links between the economic status of immigrant fathers and the economic status and marriage patterns of their native born sons and daughters. Much of this linkage works through education: children of better-educated immigrants have higher education, earn higher wages, and are more likely to marry outside of their father's ethnic group. Despite the dramatic shift in the country-of -origin composition of U.S. immigrants since 1940, we find that the rate of intergenerational assimilation has changed little. As in the pat, native born children on immigrants can expect to close 50-60- percent of the gap in relative economic performance experienced by their father's ethnic group.

Suggested Citation

  • David Card & John DiNardo & Eugena Estes, 1998. "The More Things Change: Immigrants and the Children of Immigrants in the 1940's, the 1970's, and the 1990's," JCPR Working Papers 30, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:30
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    Cited by:

    1. Francine Blau & Lawrence Kahn & Albert Liu & Kerry Papps, 2013. "The transmission of women’s fertility, human capital, and work orientation across immigrant generations," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(2), pages 405-435, April.
    2. Maia Güell & José V. Rodríguez Mora & Christopher I. Telmer, 2015. "The Informational Content of Surnames, the Evolution of Intergenerational Mobility, and Assortative Mating," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(2), pages 693-735.
    3. Amelie F. Constant & Annabelle Krause & Ulf Rinne & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2011. "Economic preferences and attitudes of the unemployed: Are natives and second generation migrants alike?," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 32(7), pages 825-851, October.
    4. Paola Giuliano, 2007. "Living Arrangements in Western Europe: Does Cultural Origin Matter?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(5), pages 927-952, September.
    5. Amelie F. Constant & Annabelle Krause & Ulf Rinne & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2017. "Reservation wages of first- and second-generation migrants," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(13), pages 945-949, July.
    6. Yann Algan & Christian Dustmann & Albrecht Glitz & Alan Manning, 2010. "The Economic Situation of First and Second-Generation Immigrants in France, Germany and the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(542), pages 4-30, February.
    7. Algan, Yann & Dustmann, Christian & Glitz, Albrecht & Manning, Alan, 2009. "The Economic Situation of First- and Second-Generation Immigrants in France, Germany, and the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 4514, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Abdurrahman Aydemir & Wen-Hao Chen & Miles Corak, 2013. "Intergenerational Education Mobility among the Children of Canadian Immigrants," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 39(s1), pages 107-122, May.
    9. 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.
    10. Luthra, Renee Reichl & Soehl, Thomas, 2014. "Who assimilates? Statistical artefacts and intergenerational mobility in immigrant families," ISER Working Paper Series 2014-28, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    11. Ali Tasiran & Kerem Tezic, 2007. "Early labour-market experiences of second-generation immigrants in Sweden," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(7), pages 809-824.
    12. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Nguyen, Trong-Ha, 2010. "Immigration Background and the Intergenerational Correlation in Education," IZA Discussion Papers 4985, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Jaai Parasnis & Jemma Swan, 2017. "Differences in educational attainment by country of origin: Evidence from Australia," Monash Economics Working Papers 05-17, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    14. Heaven Crawley, 2009. "The Situation of Children in Immigrant Families in the United Kingdom," Papers inwopa579, Innocenti Working Papers.
    15. Richard Akresh & Redstone Akresh, 2011. "Using Achievement Tests to Measure Language Assimilation and Language Bias among the Children of Immigrants," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(3), pages 647-667.
    16. Naci H. Mocan & Luiza Pogorelova, 2015. "Why Work More? The Impact of Taxes, and Culture of Leisure on Labor Supply in Europe," NBER Working Papers 21297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Dustmann, Christian & Glitz, Albrecht, 2011. "Migration and Education," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    18. Goodwin-White, Jamie, 2006. "Dispersion or Concentration for the 1.5 Generation? Destination Choices of the Children of Immigrants in the US," IZA Discussion Papers 2269, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. Zhan, Crystal, 2015. "Money v.s. prestige: Cultural attitudes and occupational choices," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 44-56.
    20. Susan Niknami, 2016. "Intergenerational transmission of education among female immigrants," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 715-744, September.
    21. Naci Mocan & Luiza Pogorelova, 2015. "Why Work More? The Impact of Taxes, and Culture of Leisure on Labor Supply in Europe," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1514, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
    22. Renee Luthra & Thomas Soehl, 2015. "From Parent to Child? Transmission of Educational Attainment Within Immigrant Families: Methodological Considerations," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(2), pages 543-567, April.
    23. Mocan, Naci & Pogorelova, Luiza, 2015. "Why Work More? The Impact of Taxes, and Culture of Leisure on Labor Supply in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 9281, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    24. Crystal Zhan, 2015. "School and neighborhood: residential location choice of immigrant parents in the Los Angeles Metropolitan area," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(3), pages 737-783, July.
    25. Corak, Miles & Curtis, Lori & Phipps, Shelley, 2010. "Economic Mobility, Family Background, and the Well-Being of Children in the United States and Canada," IZA Discussion Papers 4814, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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