The Educational Progress of California’s Immigrant Children
Deborah L. Garvey, Santa Clara University
Nearly half of California’s school-age population in 2000 had at least one foreign-born parent, more than double the U.S. average. California’s rapidly growing immigrant youth population is more likely to be of Latin American or Asian origin than the nation overall. This paper uses 1990 and 2000 census data to quantify the role of immigrant generation (first (distinguished by arrival age), second, and third+) on school enrollment across and within generations, while controlling for individual, family and neighborhood characteristics. I exploit large sample sizes to examine how the impact of generation status differs over time and by national origin, whether observable characteristics explain differential school participation behavior, and whether participation among at-risk immigrant groups “catches up” with natives across generations. While first-generation Hispanic youth (particularly older-arriving Mexicans) and indeterminate-generation natives are least likely to be enrolled in school, much of the observed differential is due to differences in family structure.