The Education of Immigrant Children: The Impact of Age at Arrival
AffiliationUniversity of Arizona, Mexican American Studies & Research Center
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RightsThe MASRC Working Paper Series © The Arizona Board of Regents
Collection InformationThe goal of the Mexican American Studies & Research Center's Working Paper Series is to disseminate recent research on the Mexican American experience. The Center welcomes papers from the social sciences, public policy fields, and the humanities. Areas of particular interest include economic and political participation of Mexican Americans, health, immigration, and education. The Mexican American Studies & Research Center assumes no responsibility for statements or opinions of contributors to its Working Paper Series.
AbstractThe family reunification provision in U.S. immigration laws allows foreign-born children of immigrants to enter the U.S. and attend American schools. The total number of school years completed by immigrant children, however, is affected by their age at arrival. Age at arrival also affects the percentage of schooling that is attained in the U.S. This implies that immigrants with more U.S. schooling will earn more than other immigrants, holding total education constant, as long as the returns to U.S. schooling are greater than the returns to foreign schooling. Using data from the 1980 and 1990 Census, I find a negative relationship between age at arrival and education for Mexican, European and Pacific Islander and other immigrants that arrive shortly after the start of the first grade. Mexican immigrants as a whole, however, lose tile greatest amount of education from delayed entry. Estimates of the returns to American schooling indicate that those with at least a high school diploma benefit from additional years in U.S. schools. However, the added tax revenue from the increased earnings is not always greater than the cost of additional years of American schooling. Only for Mexican immigrants is it the case that the tax revenues outweigh the fiscal costs of more American education.