The Gradient of Immigrant Age at Arrival Effects on Socioeconomic Outcomes in the U.S.

Dowell Myers, University of Southern California
Xin Gao, University of Southern California
Julie Park, University of Southern California

A young age at arrival is believed to be one of the primary predictors of adult immigrant achievement. So important is this pre-adolescent arrival that a special classification is given these ‘1.5 generation’ immigrants. However, it is not agreed if the appropriate dividing line should be 5, 10, 15, or another age. The 2000 census provides opportunity to test a more specific gradient of age at arrival effects by using exact years of age. We test for nonlinearities and breakpoints in the gradient with respect to several outcomes, and we compare Latino and Asian immigrants. Results indicate that the effect of early arrival is much greater for English proficiency than other outcomes, and Latinos benefit more than Asians in most outcomes.

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Presented in Session 125: Immigrant Adaptation and Linguistic Outcomes