Immigrant Educational Attainment in the United States: Differences by Age-at-Immigration, Place of Origin and Race

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Musili, Samuel
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
This thesis presents a theoretical and empirical analysis of the odds of immigrants attaining a high school diploma, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, and graduate and professional degrees in comparison to the native-born population. Using the 2012-2016 American Community Survey (ACS) data, the odds of educational attainment are analyzed based on region of immigrants, sex, race, age at entry, period of entry, duration of stay, and citizenship status. Excluding high school, immigrants from all regions, except Latin America, have greater odds of educational attainment than the Native-born population at all other levels of education tested. In addition, this study finds that women are more likely than men to attain a bachelor’s degree while men still lead in attainment at the graduate and professional degree levels. The odds for Africans attaining bachelor’s degrees as well as graduate and professional degrees are also significantly greater than that of the native-population. Similarly, Asians have greater odds of educational attainment than the U.S. native population while Latin Americans have lower odds of attainment than those from any other immigrant regions and the native-born population. This study also finds that age at arrival for immigrants plays a crucial role in the odds of educational attainment, with immigrants arriving to the U.S. before the age of 12 having greater odds of educational attainment than immigrants arriving later and the native-born population as well. Citizenship in the U.S. also increases the odds of educational attainment among immigrants.
immigration, education, attainment, region, sex, age, decade, citizenship, age-at-entry, decade of entry