Barriers to high-school completion among immigrant and later-generation Latinos in the USA: Language, ethnicity and socioeconomic status

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32 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article examines high-school completion among key Latino immigration groups in the USA, with a particular focus on the impacts of ethnicity, generation, language proficiencies, family structure and socioeconomic status. Family socioeconomic status has by far the largest impact on high-school completion. Poverty presents a persistent and daunting problem in high-school non-completion in the USA and is a primary contributor to Latino high-school non-completion. Addressing the issue of poverty is particularly important in the case of Mexicans, who make up the largest proportion of the immigrant population and whose levels of high-school completion are significantly lower than those of other groups. This research also highlights the impact of Spanish maintenance on high-school completion and indicates that high-level proficiency in both Spanish and English is associated with a greater likelihood to complete high school than Non-Hispanic whites when controlling for socioeconomic status and other variables. Ultimately, an important message of this research is that the impact of socioeconomic status on high-school completion - a primary mechanism for socioeconomic mobility across generations - must not be understated or overlooked by policymakers who aim to address social mobility across generations of immigrant groups in the USA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-342
Number of pages20
JournalEthnicities
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2007

Keywords

  • Bilingualism
  • Educational attainment
  • USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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