The More Things Change: Immigrants and the Children of Immigrants in the 1940s, the 1970s, and the 1990s

62 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2000

See all articles by David Card

David Card

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

John E. DiNardo

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Eugena Estes

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section

Date Written: April 1998

Abstract

Rising immigrant inflows have substantially affected the size and composition of the U.S. workforce. They are also exerting an even bigger intergenerational effect: at present one-in-ten native born children are in the 'second generation' born to immigrant parents. In this paper we present a comparative perspective on the economic performance of immigrants and their children, utilizing data from the 1940 and 1970 Censuses, and from recent (1994-96) Current Population Surveys. We find important intergenerational links between the economic status of immigrant fathers and the economic status and marriage patterns of their native born sons and daughters. Much of this linkage works through education: children of better-educated immigrants have higher education, earn higher wages, and are more likely to marry outside of their father's ethnic group. Despite the dramatic shift in the country-of-origin composition of U.S. immigrants since 1940, we find that the rate of intergenerational assimilation has changed little. As in the past, native born children of immigrants can expect to close 50-60 percent of the gap in relative economic performance experienced by their father's ethnic group.

Suggested Citation

Card, David E. and DiNardo, John and Estes, Eugena, The More Things Change: Immigrants and the Children of Immigrants in the 1940s, the 1970s, and the 1990s (April 1998). NBER Working Paper No. w6519. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=226258

David E. Card (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

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Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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John DiNardo

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Eugena Estes

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section

Princeton, NJ 08544-2098
United States

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