Determinants of Bilingualism Among Children

49 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2014

See all articles by Barry R. Chiswick

Barry R. Chiswick

University of Illinois at Chicago; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Marina Gindelsky

Government of the United States of America - Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA); George Washington University - Department of Economics

Abstract

This paper analyzes the determinants of bilingualism (i.e., speaks a language other than English at home) among children age 5 to 18 years in the American Community Survey, 2005-2011. Two groups of children are considered: those born in the US (native born) and foreign-born children who immigrated prior to age 14 (the 1.5 generation). The analyses are conducted overall, within genders, and within racial and ethnic groups.Bilingualism is more prevalent if the parents are foreign born, less proficient in English, of the same ancestry (linguistic) group, and if the child lives in an ethnic (linguistic) concentration area. Although the effects are relatively smaller, a foreign-born grandparent living in the household increases child bilingualism, while a higher level of parental education tends to decrease it. Children of Asian and especially of Hispanic origin are more likely to be bilingual than their white, non-Hispanic counterparts. Native-born Indigenous children are more likely to be bilingual.

Keywords: bilingualism, native born children, immigrant children, family

JEL Classification: J15, J24, I210, Z13

Suggested Citation

Chiswick, Barry R. and Gindelsky, Marina, Determinants of Bilingualism Among Children. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8488. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2505350

Barry R. Chiswick (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

601 S. Morgan Street, Room 2103UH
Chicago, IL 60607-7121
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312-996-2683 (Phone)
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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Germany

Marina Gindelsky

Government of the United States of America - Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) ( email )

1441 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20910
United States

George Washington University - Department of Economics ( email )

Washington, D.C., DC
United States

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