Educational Pathway and Social Mobility in Children of Immigrants

  •  Michael Dunn    


This paper looks at degree completion and wages of immigrants to understand the extent to which a student’s chosen educational pathway limits his or her social mobility. Statistical modeling established the predictive strengths of key variables on educational pathway and statistical analysis is used to understand the relationship between educational pathway, degree completion, and wages. Findings show that educational pathway mediates many of the background determinants that previous research identified as key mechanisms for immigrant social mobility. Furthermore, findings also identify a significant “pathway wage penalty” despite degree completion. New immigration plus births to immigrants added more than 22 million people to the U.S. population in the last decade, equal to 80 percent of total population growth. Immigrants and their children now account for more than one in five public school students. The impact of immigrants and their children on the US population, and the education system, underscores the importance of research examining the immigrant experience.

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