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The Next GenerationImmigrant Youth in a Comparative Perspective$
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Richard Alba and Mary C. Waters

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814707425

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814707425.001.0001

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Downward Assimilation and Mexican Americans

Downward Assimilation and Mexican Americans

An Examination of Intergenerational Advance and Stagnation in Educational Attainment

(p.95) 5 Downward Assimilation and Mexican Americans
The Next Generation

Richard Alba

Dalia Abdel-Hady

Tariqul Islam

Karen Marotz

NYU Press

This chapter examines the third generation, the grandchildren of immigrants, with a particular focus on Mexican Americans, since a frequent claim is made that the educational progress of this group stalls after the second generation. Hence, the chapter adopts a more unconventional approach by comparing each generation to its parents. In general, Mexican Americans, even in the third generation, make a substantial educational leap beyond their parents; this advance is greater on average than its equivalent among non-Hispanic whites. However, Mexican Americans of the third generation still have lower educational attainment than do their white peers. Their educational leap implies that their second-generation parents had low educational outcomes, to which the institutional discrimination that they faced in the mid-twentieth-century United States contributed. History, in other words, matters very much for any evaluation of the Mexican American case.

Keywords:   third generation, Mexican Americans, educational progress, educational leap, educational attainment, second-generation parents, immigrants, grandchildren

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