Second-Generation Immigrants: Inheritors of the Big Apple

By Mary Ann Zehr — August 26, 2008 1 min read
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A 10-year study by professors at Harvard University and City of University of New York shows that most of the second-generation immigrants to that city are fluent in English and working in the mainstream economy, according to a description of its findings at National Public Radio. The authors of the study, Inheriting the City: The Children of Immigrants Come of Age, found the following differences between groups, the NPR summary says:

When they looked at economic and educational achievement, [the researchers] found that West Indians were doing better, in general, than African-Americans; Dominicans were doing better than Puerto Ricans; and the Chinese and the Russians were doing as well as or better than native-born whites.

The NPR summary also makes the following point:

Because this is New York City and most study participants are the children of people who came to the United States 20 to 30 years ago, their parents either entered legally or found it relatively easy to obtain legal status even if they came illegally.

I’m intrigued about the differences in educational attainment between groups and also curious about what impact it makes on second-generation immigrants that their parents gain legal status. The professors studied 3,000 youths, most of them in their 20s. And given that I’ve been blogging lately about criticism of how New York City serves English-language learners, I’m curious to see what the book has to say about schooling in New York City.

I hope to read the book soon and tell you what I find. Review copies have apparently been available since May, since I see the New York Times published a story about the study then, and the study also is featured today over at Immigration Prof Blog.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.