From Parent to Child? Transmission of Educational Attainment Within Immigrant Families: Methodological Considerations

Report Author: 
Renee Reichl Luthra & Thomas Soehl
Original Date of Publication: 
2015 Mar

From Parent to Child? Transmission of Educational Attainment Within Immigrant Families: Methodological Considerations

Children of immigrants comprise more than 20 percent of the U.S. population under the age of 18.

From Parent to Child examines the extent to which the educational attainment of immigrant children mirrors that of their parents. The researchers find a "generally weak relationship between parental and child educational attainment within immigrant families." Using individual- and aggregate-level data from surveys of second-generation immigrants in Los Angeles, New York, San Diego and Miami, authors Luther and Soehl find that, for the majority of immigrant groups, children attain higher average education levels than their parents although this pattern varies by national origin. The researchers fault previous studies for overestimating the importance of parental education in immigrant families. They suggest that the common practice of "controlling" for family human capital using parental education is problematic when comparing immigrants from one country to those from another, and to the native population because both immigrants and natives are educated in fundamentally different education systems and, therefore, have educations that are not commensurate. In future analyses, the authors recommend against controlling for education in favor of controlling for the relative educational position of the immigrant in his or her home country. 

from parent to child

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Report File: 
Citation: 

Luthra, R. R. & Soehl, T. (2015). From Parent to Child? Transmission of Educational Attainment Within Immigrant Families: Methodological Considerations. Demography 52. Los Angeles: CA. Available at: http://www.russellsage.org/sites/all/files/Luthra_FromParent.pdf

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