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Demography. 2001 Aug;38(3):317-36.

The educational enrollment of immigrant youth: a test of the segmented-assimilation hypothesis.

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  • 1Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology, Department of Sociology, Box 353340, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-3340, USA.


An analysis of 1990 census data on the educational enrollment of 15- to 17-year-old immigrants to the United States provides partial support for predictions from both the segmented-assimilation hypothesis and the immigrant optimism hypothesis. Most immigrant adolescents, especially from Asia, are as likely as their native-born peers to be enrolled in high school, or more so. The "at-risk" immigrant youths with above-average levels of nonenrollment that are not reduced with longer exposure to American society are primarily of Hispanic Caribbean origins (from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba). Recent Mexican immigrants who arrived as teenagers have nonenrollment rates over 40%, but Mexican youths who arrived at younger ages are only somewhat less likely to be enrolled in school than are native-born Americans.

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