, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 317–336

The educational enrollment of immigrant youth: A test of the segmented-assimilation hypothesis

  • Charles Hirschman
Immigration, Assimilation, and Inequality


An analysis of 1990 census data on the educational enrollment of 15- to 17-year-old immigrants to the United States provides partial support for predictions from both the segmented-assimilation hypothesis and the immigrant optimism hypothesis. Most immigrant adolescents, especially from Asia, are as likely as their native-born peers to be enrolled in high school, or more so. The “at-risk” immigrant youths with above-average levels of nonenrollment that are not reduced with longer exposure to American society are primarily of Hispanic Caribbean origins (from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba). Recent Mexican immigrants who arrived as teenagers have nonenrollment rates over 40%, but Mexican youths who arrived at younger ages are only somewhat less likely to be enrolled in school than are native-born Americans.


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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles Hirschman
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology, Department of SociologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattle

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