Although research finds that foreign-born youth often enjoy greater educational attainments than domestic-born youth, we do not have a coherent theoretical explanation of why this happens. We operationalize individual and structural factors with measures of planful competence and social capital; both of these independently predict educational attainment, and measures of occupational attainment further indicate that these educational histories may have lifetime effects. Although the data do not provide blanket evidence for a positive effect of youthful immigration on educational attainment, bilingual foreign born students do enjoy a greater likelihood of university attendance than other students, while age at immigration is related to attachment to school and planful competence, which are key variables in understanding educational and occupational attainment. This paper suggests these students do well because they can draw on the resources of both ethnic and non-ethnic communities; these foreign-born youth may be well-positioned to make competent choices, leading to successful personal outcomes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science