The Role of Migration on the Educational Expectations of First-Generation Latino Adolescents

Lisa Spees, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Krista Perreira, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Past literature suggests that educational expectations are highly predictive of students’ future educational attainment. Yet few studies examine students’ educational expectations. Moreover, studies on immigrants’ educational outcomes tend to focus solely on post-migration factors. This paper examines how pre-migration, migration, and post-migration experiences influence Latino immigrants’ educational expectations. We use data from the Latino Adolescent Migration, Health, and Adaptation Project, a population-based study on the migration and health of first-generation Latino youth in a new immigrant receiving community. We find that adolescents entering the US without inspection have lower expectations than those who enter the US with some form of legal status. Post-migration factors such as acculturation continue to play an important role; Latino youth who become more acculturated and feel socially supported have higher expectations than those that are less acculturated and supported. Nevertheless, these adaptations are not sufficient to overcome the negative effects of undocumented status on expectations.

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Presented in Poster Session 4