Ethnic Economies and Education among Immigrants and Their Children

Jennifer C. Lee, University of Minnesota

While children of immigrants, on average, fare better academically than their third-or-higher generation peers as well as native born Whites, there are large disparities both within and between immigrant groups in dropout rates, academic achievement, and educational attainment. In this paper, I will focus on parents’ participation in the ethnic economy as a factor that can explain group variability in the educational attainments of children of immigrants. Specifically, I will use data from the 2000 Census and the 2003 American Community Surveys to assess the impact of fathers' employment in the ethnic economy on their children's school enrollment. While most research on the academic achievement of children of immigrants focuses on processes that occur within the family or school, my research investigates the labor market as one domain in which immigrant adults and their children can increase social capital and overcome deficits in human capital.

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Presented in Poster Session 6: Migration, Urbanization, Neighborhood and Residential Context