Immigrant Parent's Early Educational Investment in Their Children: Does Migration Selectivity Matter?

Sangyoo Lee , University of Minnesota

There are studies that document how children of immigrants show better educational outcomes compared to children of non-immigrants, despite immigrant children’s greater socioeconomic disadvantaged background. Some scholars attribute the relative success of children of immigrants as a result of a positive migration selection of immigrant parents in the United States. Understanding that the reason behind the children of immigrants' academic advantage may be due to migration selectivity is useful. However, immigrant parents still struggle despite the supposed advantages they bring. There is discrepancy in immigrant parents’ perceived socioeconomic status between home country and host country and how this lead to their children’s educational investment decision is less known. The goal of this study is to examine how immigrant parents’ educational investment in their children compare to those of non-immigrant parents with similar socioeconomic background. I ask the following research questions: (1) How do parental investments in early childhood vary among immigrant and non-immigrant families? (2) How do parenting investments vary within the immigrant population by different socioeconomic status in absolute and relative terms? Do immigrant parents from higher contextual socioeconomic status invest more in their children compared to immigrant parents from lower contextual socioeconomic status? (3) Do varying levels of immigrant parents’ educational investments explain differences in school readiness? I use the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) survey data, which is a nationally representative sample of children born in the United States in 2001. Comprised of more than 14,000 children, the same children were followed through kindergarten entry.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 77. Immigrants' Structural Integration II: Education