Why do immigrant youths who never enroll in U.S. schools matter? School enrollment among Mexicans and non-Hispanic whites

R. S. Oropesa, Nancy S. Landale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

Using data from the 2000 Public Use Sample of the U.S. census, this research examined how estimates of school enrollment and school work patterns among Mexican origin adolescents are affected by including or excluding young immigrants who never enrolled in U.S. schools. The analysis demonstrates that a nontrivial share of adolescents who were born in Mexico almost certainly never enrolled in U.S. schools; these youths most likely migrated to the United States for work. Excluding these adolescents from analyses substantially reduces gaps in school enrollment between Mexicans and whites and between native and foreign born Mexicans. Excluding never enrolled immigrant youths also changes the relationship between the duration of U.S. residence and idleness among Mexican immigrant youths, revealing that additional years of residence in the United States increase the likelihood of being out of school and not working compared to being in school and not working. Overall, inferences about the level of school enrollment and intraethnic differences in school enrollment by duration of residence depend on how those who are likely to have never enrolled in U.S. schools are treated. Inferences about interethnic differences are also affected, although they are somewhat less sensitive to this issue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-266
Number of pages27
JournalSociology of Education
Volume82
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science

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