Authors: Miles Corak,  Audrey Beck, and Marta Tienda

Publication: The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. no. 643, no. 1. pp. 134–159

Date: July 2012


Immigrants’ age at arrival matters for schooling outcomes in a way that is predicted by child development theory: the chances of being a high school dropout increase significantly each year for children who arrive in a host country after the age of eight. The authors document this process for immigrants in the United States from a number of regions relative to appropriate comparison regions. Using instrumental variables, the authors find that the variation in education outcomes associated with variation in age at arrival influences adult outcomes that are important in the American mainstream, notably English-language proficiency and intermarriage. The authors conclude that children experience migration differently from adults depending on the timing of migration and show that migration during the early years of child development influences educational outcomes. The authors also find that variation in education outcomes induced by the interaction of migration and age at arrival changes the capacity of children to become fully integrated into the American mainstream as adults.

Link: Age at Immigration and the Adult Attainments of Child Migrants to the United States (PDF)