The Complexity of Immigrant Generations: Implications for Assessing the Socioeconomic Integration of Hispanics and Asians

58 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2016

See all articles by Brian Duncan

Brian Duncan

University of Colorado at Denver

Stephen J. Trejo

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2016

Abstract

Because of data limitations, virtually all studies of the later-generation descendants of immigrants rely on subjective measures of ethnic self-identification rather than arguably more objective measures based on the countries of birth of the respondent and his ancestors. In this context, biases can arise from “ethnic attrition” (e.g., U.S.-born individuals who do not self-identify as Hispanic despite having ancestors who were immigrants from a Spanish-speaking country). Analyzing 2003-2013 data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), this study shows that such ethnic attrition is sizeable and selective for the second- and third-generation populations of key Hispanic and Asian national origin groups. In addition, the results indicate that ethnic attrition generates measurement biases that vary across groups in direction as well as magnitude, and that correcting for these biases is likely to raise the socioeconomic standing of the U.S.-born descendants of most Hispanic immigrants relative to their Asian counterparts.

Suggested Citation

Duncan, Brian and Trejo, Stephen J., The Complexity of Immigrant Generations: Implications for Assessing the Socioeconomic Integration of Hispanics and Asians (February 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w21982. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2732459

Brian Duncan (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Denver ( email )

Box 173364
1250 14th Street
Denver, CO 80217
United States

Stephen J. Trejo

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Economics ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States
512-475-8512 (Phone)
512-471-3510 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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