Identifying the Later-generation Descendants of U.S. Immigrants: Issues Arising from Selective Ethnic Attrition, (Brian Duncan and Stephen J. Trejo)


1. Evaluating the long-term socioeconomic integration of immigrants in the United States requires analyses of differences between foreign-born and U.S.-born residents, as well as analyses across generations of the U.S.-born. Regrettably, though, standard data sources used to study these populations provide very limited information pertaining to generation. As a result, research on the U.S.-born descendants of immigrants often relies on the use of subjective measures of racial/ethnic identification. Because ethnic attachments tend to fade across generations, these subjective measures might miss a significant portion of the later-generation descendants of immigrants. Moreover, if such “ethnic attrition” is selective on socioeconomic attainment, it can distort assessments of integration and generational progress. We discuss evidence that suggests that ethnic attrition is sizable and selective for the second- and third-generation populations of key Hispanic and Asian national-origin groups, and that correcting for the resulting biases is likely to raise the socioeconomic standing of the U.S.-born descendants of most Hispanic immigrants relative to their Asian counterparts.

2. Keywords: racial/ethnic identification; generational mobility; immigrant integration


3. No discussion of Blacks, AFRICAN AMERICANS or descendants of Africans Enslaved in the United States (DAEUS)


 III: Diversities within Major Populations