Trajectories of English Language Acquisition among Foreign-Born Children in Spanish-Language Households

Gillian Stevens, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The rapidity and extent to which immigrant non-English language children in the United States learn English has important short-term and long-term consequences for their immediate situation and for their future. In this paper I model trajectories of English language acquisition among foreign-born children living in Spanish-language households. The results show, as expected, that English acquisition increases with length of residence in the United States with the increases being largest during the first handful or so of years after arrival in the country. However, the results also show a clear trend by age at entry. The older children are when they enter the U.S., the less rapid their early progress in acquiring proficiency in English.

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Presented in Session 26: Developmental Trajectories of Children of Immigrant Families