Children of immigrants are outperforming children whose family trees have deeper roots in the United States, learning more in school and then making smoother transitions into adulthood, according to sociologists at The Johns Hopkins University.
Researchers Lingxin Hao and Han S. Woo tracked nearly 11,000 children from as young as age 13 into their early 30s, coming from families with diverse backgrounds. When comparing children with similar socioeconomic status and school conditions, Hao and Woo found that the best students, and later the most successful young adults, were born in foreign countries and came to the United States before reaching their teens. American-born children whose parents were immigrants followed closely in terms of achievement.
Hao and Woo found that the advantages were comparable for both Asian and Hispanic children. Their study, “Distinct Trajectories in the Transition to Adulthood: Are Children of Immigrants Advantaged?” appears as part of a special section on children from immigrant families in the September/October 2012 edition of the journal Child Development.