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Human Capital in HistoryThe American Record$
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Leah Platt Boustan, Carola Frydman, and Robert A. Margo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226163895

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226163925.001.0001

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The Role of Immigrant Children in Their Parents’ Assimilation in the United States, 1850-2010

The Role of Immigrant Children in Their Parents’ Assimilation in the United States, 1850-2010

Chapter:
(p.97) 3 The Role of Immigrant Children in Their Parents’ Assimilation in the United States, 1850-2010
Source:
Human Capital in History
Author(s):

Leah Platt Boustan

Carola Frydman

Robert A. Margo

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226163925.003.0004

The presence of children in immigrant households can influence the assimilation of their parents, through either human capital transfers from children to parents (parents learning from their children) or the assistance children can provide in navigating economic life in the destination country (parents leaning on their children). We examine the relationship between the presence of children in U.S. immigrant households and the human capital acquisition of their immigrant from 1850 to 2010. We first show that immigrants who arrived in the Great Migration of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were substantially less likely to arrive with children than more recent immigrants. We then show that assimilation appears slower for most recent cohorts than those that arrived during the Great Migration, though in both eras cohort quality declines over time. Finally, we show that the immigrant children of the earlier immigrants were associated with more assimilation (less “leaning” and more “learning”) than were the children of post-1960 immigrants.

Keywords:   assimilation, immigrant, Great Migration, Learning from children, Leaning on children

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