This study examines the degree to which immigrant youth are integrated in school settings at the dyadic (reciprocity and isolation), network (popularity, centrality, social status), and institutional levels (connection to school, extracurricular activities). The study includes 43,123 youth across 64 schools with immigrant populations from the 1994–1995 Wave I in-school survey of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). Survey-weighted logistic, negative binomial, and linear regression models were used to estimate the effects of race/ethnicity, immigrant generation, friendship composition, and school composition on integration at dyadic, network, and institutional levels. In general, the success of second-generation youth in navigating their school social contexts provides evidence of positive processes of immigrant integration. However, important differences across racial and ethnic groups suggest that these successes are most prominent for Asian youth, while other groups may not experience processes of social integration equally. In addition, same race/ethnicity friendships functioned to facilitate social integration, while same-generation friendships placed youth from immigrant families at increased risk for marginalization. Results highlight the need for schools to consider how to build connections across immigrant generations and to draw on the strengths of immigrant youth to contribute to school communities.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Aboud, F., Mendelson, M., & Purdy, K. (2003). Cross-race peer relations and friendship quality. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 27(2), 165–173. doi:10.1080/01650250244000164.
Alba, R., Kasinitz, P., & Waters, M. (2011a). The kids are (mostly) alright: Second-generation assimilation: Comments on Haller. Portes and Lynch. Social Forces, 89(3), 763–774. doi:10.1353/sof.2011.0024.
Alba, R., Sloan, J., & Sperling, J. (2011b). The integration imperative: The children of low-status immigrants in the schools of wealthy societies. Annual Review of Sociology, 37(1), 395–415. doi:10.1146/annurev-soc-081309-150219.
Bonacich, P. (1987). Power and centrality: A family of measures. American Journal of Sociology, 92(5), 1170–1182.
Borgatti, S., Carley, K., & Krackhardt, D. (2006). On the robustness of centrality measures under conditions of imperfect data. Social Networks, 28(2), 124–136. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2005.05.001.
Bui, H. (2013). Racial and ethnic differences in the immigrant paradox in substance use. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 15(5), 866–881. doi:10.1007/s10903-012-9670-y.
Cherng, H., Turney, K., & Kao, G. (2014). Less socially engaged? Participation in friendship and extracurricular activities among racial/ethnic minority and immigrant adolescents. Teachers College Record, 116(3), 1–28.
Coleman, J. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. American Journal of Sociology, 94, S95–S120.
Costenbader, E., & Valente, T. W. (2003). The stability of centrality measures when networks are sampled. Social Networks, 25(4), 283–307. doi:10.1016/S0378-8733(03)00012-1.
Crosnoe, R., & López Turley, R. N. (2011). K-12 educational outcomes of immigrant youth. Future of Children, 21(1), 129–152. doi:10.1353/foc.2011.0008.
Doyle, J. M., & Kao, G. (2007). Friendship choices of multiracial adolescents: Racial homophily, blending, or amalgamation? Social Science Research, 36(2), 633–653. doi:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2006.12.001.
Fordham, S., & Ogbu, J. (1986). Black students’ school success: Coping with the “burden of ‘acting White’”. The Urban Review, 18(3), 176–206.
Fuligni, A. (1997). The academic achievement of adolescents from immigrant families: The role of family background, attitudes, and behavior. Child Development, 68(2), 351–363.
Gelman, A., Carlin, J. B., Stern, H. S., & Rubin, D. B. (2004). Bayesian data analysis (2nd ed.). London: Chapman & Hall/CRC.
Goodreau, S., Kitts, J., & Morris, M. (2009). Birds of a feather, or friend of a friend? Using exponential random graph models to investigate adolescent social networks. Demography, 46(1), 103–125.
Goosby, B. J., & Walsemann, K. M. (2012). School racial composition and race/ethnic differences in early adulthood health. Health and Place, 18(2), 296–304. doi:10.1016/j.healthplace.2011.10.002.
Greenman, E. (2011). Assimilation choices among immigrant families: Does school context matter? International Migration Review, 45(1), 29–67. doi:10.1111/j.1747-7379.2010.00828.x.
Haller, W., Portes, A., & Lynch, S. M. (2011). On the dangers of rosy lenses: Reply to Alba, Kasinitz and Waters. Social Forces, 89(3), 775–782. doi:10.1353/sof.2011.0018.
Harris, K., Halpern, C., Whitsel, E., Hussey, J., Tabor, J., Entzel, P., & Udry, J. (2009). The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health: Research Design. Retrieved from http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/addhealth/design
Hjalmarsson, S., & Mood, C. (2015). Do poorer youth have fewer friends? The role of household and child economic resources in adolescent school-class friendships. Children and Youth Services Review, 57, 201–211. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2015.08.013.
Houtte, V. H., & Stevens, P. A. J. (2009). School ethnic composition and students’ integration outside and inside schools in Belgium. Sociology of Education, 82(3), 217–239. doi:10.1177/003804070908200302.
Jackson, M. I. (2011). Foreign-born health integration during the transition to adulthood: The case of weight. Social Science Research, 40(5), 1419–1433. doi:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2011.04.008.
Kao, G. (2004). Parental influences on the educational outcomes of immigrant youth. International Migration Review, 38(2), 427–449.
Kao, G., & Joyner, K. (2004). Do race and ethnicity matter among friends? Activities among interracial, interethnic, and intraethnic adolescent friends. The Sociological Quarterly, 45(3), 557–573. doi:10.1111/j.1533-8525.2004.tb02303.x.
Kao, G., & Vaquera, E. (2006). The salience of racial and ethnic identification in friendship choices among Hispanic adolescents. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 28(1), 23–47. doi:10.1016/j.regpep.2005.11.002.
Kuperminc, G., Darnell, A., & Alvarez-Jimenez, A. (2008). Parent involvement in the academic adjustment of Latino middle and high school youth: Teacher expectations and school belonging as mediators. Journal of Adolescence, 31(4), 469–483.
La Greca, A. M., & Harrison, H. M. (2005). Adolescent peer relations, friendships, and romantic relationships: do they predict social anxiety and depression? Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 67(1), 49–61. doi:10.1207/s15374424jccp3401_5.
Leszczensky, L., & Pink, S. (2015). Ethnic segregation of friendship networks in school: Testing a rational-choice argument of differences in ethnic homophily between classroom- and grade-level networks. Social Networks, 42, 18–26. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2015.02.002.
Lichter, D. T. (2013). Integration or fragmentation? Racial diversity and the American future. Demography, 50(2), 359–391. doi:10.1007/s13524-013-0197-1.
Lucas, S. R., & Berends, M. (2007). Race and track location in U.S. public schools. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 25(3), 169–187. doi:10.1016/j.rssm.2006.12.002.
Lusher, D., Koskinen, J., & Robins, G. (2013). Exponential random graph models for social networks`. Oxford: Cambridge University Press.
Moody, J. (2001). Race, school integration, and friendship segregation in America. American Journal of Sociology, 107(3), 679–716.
Nelson, R. M., & DeBacker, T. K. (2008). Achievement motivation in adolescents: The role of peer climate and best friends. The Journal of Experimental Education, 76(2), 170–189. doi:10.3200/JEXE.76.2.170-190.
Ogbu, J. U. (2004). Collective identity and the burden of “acting white” in black history, community, and education. The Urban Review, 36(1), 1–35. doi:10.1023/B:URRE.0000042734.83194.f6.
Okamoto, D. G., Herda, D., & Hartzog, C. (2013). Beyond good grades: School composition and immigrant youth participation in extracurricular activities. Social Science Research, 42(1), 155–168. doi:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2012.08.005.
Orfield, G., & Frankenburg, E. (2014). Brown at 60: Great progress, a long retreat and an uncertain future.
Passel, J. S. (2011). Demography of immigrant youth: Past, present, and future. Future of Children, 21(1), 19–41.
Portes, A., & Zhou, M. (1993). The new second generation: Segmented assimilation and its variants. The Annals, 530, 74–96.
Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Quillan, L., & Campbell, M. (2003). Beyond black and white. American Sociological Review, 68(4), 540–566. doi:10.1016/S0049-089X(03)00056-5.
Reynolds, A. D., Crea, T. M., Medina, F. J., Degnan, E., & McRoy, R. (2015). A Mixed-methods case study of parent involvement in an urban high school serving minority students. Urban Education, 50(6), 750–755. doi:10.1177/0042085914534272.
Rude, J., & Herda, D. (2010). Best friends forever? Race and the stability of adolescent friendships. Social Forces, 89(2), 585–607. doi:10.1353/sof.2010.0059.
Salas-Wright, C. P., Vaughn, M. G., Schwartz, S. J., & Córdova, D. (2015). An “immigrant paradox” for adolescent externalizing behavior? Evidence from a national sample. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. doi:10.1007/s00127-015-1115-1.
Scanlan, M., & López, F. (2014). Leadership for culturally and linguistically responsive schools. New York: Routledge.
Schaefer, D. R., Simpkins, S. D., Vest, A. E., & Price, C. D. (2011). The contribution of extracurricular activities to adolescent friendships: New insights through social network analysis. Developmental Psychology, 47(4), 1141–1152. doi:10.1037/a0024091.
Schafer, J. L. (1997). Analysis of incomplete multivariate data. Boca Raton, FL: Chapman & Hall/CRC.
Smith, S., Maas, I., & van Tubergen, F. (2014). Ethnic ingroup friendships in schools: Testing the by-product hypothesis in England, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Social Networks, 39(1), 33–45. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2014.04.003.
South, S., & Haynie, D. (2004). Friendship networks of mobile adolescents. Social Forces, 83(1), 315–350. doi:10.1353/sof.2004.0128.
Stanton-Salazar, R. (1997). A social capital framework for understanding the socialization of racial minority children and youths. Harvard Educational Review, 67(1), 1–40.
Stanton-Salazar, R. (2004). Social capital among working class minority students. In M. A. Gibson, P. C. Gandara, & J. P. Koyama (Eds.), School connections: US Mexican youth, peers, and school achievement (pp. 18–39). New York: Teachers College Press.
Stanton-Salazar, R., & Urso Spina, S. (2005). Adolescent peer networks as a context for social and emotional support. Youth & Society, 36(4), 379–417. doi:10.1177/0044118X04267814.
Steinbach, M. (2010). Quand je sors d’accueil: Linguistic integration of immigrant adolescents in Quebec secondary schools. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 23(2), 95–107. doi:10.1080/07908311003786711.
Steinberg, L., & Monahan, K. C. (2007). Age differences in resistance to peer influence. Developmental Psychology, 43(6), 1531–1543. doi:10.1037/0012-16220.127.116.111.
Stroub, K. J., & Richards, M. P. (2013). From resegregation to reintegration: Trends in the racial/ethnic segregation of metropolitan public schools, 1993–2009. American Educational Research Journal, 50(3), 497–531. doi:10.3102/0002831213478462.
Taylor, P. (2014). The next America: Boomers, millennials, and the looming generational showdown. Philadelphia, PA: Perseus Books.
Ueno, K. (2005). The effects of friendship networks on adolescent depressive symptoms. Social Science Research, 34(3), 484–510. doi:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2004.03.002.
Umberson, D., Crosnoe, R., & Reczek, C. (2010). Social relationships and health behavior across the life course. Annual Review of Sociology, 36, 139–157. doi:10.1146/annurev-soc-070308-120011.
Vaquera, E. (2009). Friendship, educational engagement, and school belonging: Comparing Hispanic and white adolescents. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 31(4), 492–514. doi:10.1177/0739986309346023.
Vaquera, E., & Kao, G. (2008). Do you like me as much as I like you? Friendship reciprocity and its effects on school outcomes among adolescents. Social Science Research, 37(1), 55–72. doi:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2006.11.002.
Vermeij, L., van Duijn, M. A. J., & Baerveldt, C. (2009). Ethnic segregation in context: Social discrimination among native Dutch pupils and their ethnic minority classmates. Social Networks, 31(4), 230–239. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2009.06.002.
Walsemann, K. M., Bell, B. A., & Goosby, B. J. (2011). Effect of school racial composition on trajectories of depressive symptoms from adolescence through early adulthood. Race and Social Problems, 3(3), 131–145. doi:10.1007/s12552-011-9053-3.
Wasserman, S., & Faust, K. (1994). Social network analysis: Methods and applications. Cambridge University Press.
Waters, M. C., & Gerstein Pineau, M. (2015). The integration of immigrants into American society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
Wentzel, K., & Caldwell, K. (1997). Friendships, peer acceptance, and group membership: Relations to academic achievement in middle school. Child Development, 68(6), 1198–1209.
Windzio, M. (2015). Immigrant children and their parents: Is there an intergenerational interdependence of integration into social networks? Social Networks, 40, 197–206. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2014.11.002.
About this article
Cite this article
Reynolds, A.D., Crea, T.M. The Integration of Immigrant Youth in Schools and Friendship Networks. Popul Res Policy Rev 36, 501–529 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11113-017-9434-4
- Immigrant youth
- Social networks
- Immigrant integration
- Social capital