Household context, generational status, and english proficiency among the children of African immigrants in the United States

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Abstract

This study examines how household and parental-level determinants affect English proficiency among the children of African immigrants in the United States. Within immigrant families, the study finds that children's level of proficiency has a stronger positive association with the proficiency of their mothers than with that of their fathers. Children's level of English proficiency significantly increases as the number of other English-proficient children within their household increases. These impacts are stronger on the proficiency levels of first compared to second-generation children. Levels of proficiency are, however, lowest among children in families from Portuguese-speaking countries followed by their counterparts in families from countries where indigenous languages and Arabic are dominant. Although proficiency levels generally improve with increasing generational status, these improvements are smallest for children in families from Portuguese-speaking countries. Except for children in families from English-speaking countries, the largest improvements to proficiency with increasing generational status were observed among children in families from indigenous language backgrounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-172
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Migration Review
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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