English Language Ability of Foreign Born in the United States: Assimilation and Cohort Effects, 2003

Xiaohan Hu, University of Maryland
Veena Kulkarni, University of Maryland
John P. Robinson, University of Maryland

Past research on language acquisition of the foreign born population in the United States has identified age at entry and duration of stay as the two critical factors associated with the language acquisition. There have been attempts to examine the role of age after controlling for the length of stay and vice versa. However, none of these studies have explored the interaction between age, cohort and the assimilation effects besides the fact that they are all dated. This paper by using the 1980 through 2000 Census data and the American Community Survey between 2000 and 2003, attempts to fill that gap in the literature. Further, we examine these interactions by the major immigrant sub-groups. Preliminary results indicate that duration of stay is positively related with language acquisition and there is evidence of the existence of cohort effects with earlier cohorts doing better than recent cohorts.

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Presented in Session 125: Immigrant Adaptation and Linguistic Outcomes