A Schooling and Employment Profile of Immigrant and Native Youth


by Denise D. Quigley


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To create a profile of the changes in the U.S. youth population from 1970-1990 in terms of demographic characteristics, schooling outcomes, and employment outcomes, this paper answers the question: Over the last 30 years, how has the age and gender composition of native-born and immigrant youth changed, how have school enrollment and educational attainment differed for immigrants and natives, and how have labor force participation, employment rates, and number of hours worked on the job differed for immigrants and natives? The rise in immigration has resulted in an "immigrant boom," which translates into a growing percentage of immigrant youths in American secondary schools and an increase in non-college-bound immigrants — high school drop outs and graduates alike — entering the work force. The difficulties experienced by immigrant students and native students with immigrant parents, in terms of educational achievement, language proficiency, and the transition from school into the workforce will perpetuate as immigrant youths grow older and become parents. In general, immigrants are an increasing and permanent percentage of both youths who are enrolled in school and who are at risk when leaving high school and entering the workforce with and without high school degrees.

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