Not Fitting in Elite Notions of Success Does Not Make Latinos Losers

Every time comprehensive immigration reform gathers steam, some
new restrictionist trope emerges to show that Latinos are
ambitionless losers who can’t be assimilated in the American
mainstream. The latest one is that by the third — not first,
not second, but third — generation Latinos stop advancing. They
drop out of college, shun professional fields and become part of
the great American underclass.

But such fears are overblown. For starters, they are based on
systematically skewed data. Many Latinos stop
as Latinos by the third generation given the
high rate of intermarriage. However, the Census Bureau relies on
respondents’ own identification when it classifies them. This means
that the many educationally, professionally, linguistically and
ethnically integrated Hispanics don’t even get counted as Hispanics
in various studies relying on Census data. 

In addition, I note in a column in the Washington
this morning:

A new
by Jennifer Lee and others at the University of
California, Irvine, examining the intergenerational mobility of
various immigrant groups in Los Angeles, found that the educational
attainment of Mexicans does stall after the third generation,
compared to Asian immigrants. “However,” they note, “it is far from
clear that this cross-sectional finding represents any kind of
downward mobility or stagnation.”

Mexican median household income rises from $27,748 in the first
generation to $53,719 in the second and $62,930 in the third.
Likewise, the rate of homeownership rises from 35.2 percent in the
1.5 generation to 62.3 percent in the second and nearly 72 percent
in the third-plus.

for the whole thing.

from Hit & Run

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