Tiger Children in “Old” versus “New” Destination Countries: High versus Low Educational Expectations among Chinese Youth in the United States, Spain and Italy

Jessica Yiu, Princeton University

Deemed ‘model minorities,’ Chinese-American youths have disproportionately high educational ambitions and achievements (i.e. about three-quarters of the children of Chinese immigrants have at least, a bachelor’s degree). Yet, across the Atlantic in Spain and Italy, Chinese youths have substantially low educational ambitions and levels of attainment (i.e. only one-fifth of Chinese youths are enrolled in post-compulsory secondary education in Spain and Italy). How do we explain these drastic divergences in educational experiences and outcomes among the same immigrant nationality group? Preliminary findings suggest that even after adjusting for basic socio-demographic variables, Chinese youth in Spain and Italy have significantly lower educational expectations than their non-Chinese counterparts, whereas Chinese youth in the U.S. have on average, higher expectations. More than variations in immigrant selectivity across the three countries, it seems that cross-national variations in the valuations of education and perceptions of opportunity structures explain these divergent outcomes.

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Presented in Session 182: Immigrant Assimilation in the United States and Europe