The School-to-Work Transition of Second-generation Immigrants in Metropolitan New York
Some Preliminary Findings
Social scientists have only begun to study the experiences of the 15 million immigrants who have settled in the United States since 1965 and have learned even less about their children. Several speculate that the children of immigrants, being restricted to poor inner city schools, bad jobs, and shrinking economic niches, will experience downward mobility, or second-generation decline. Others postulate a "segmented assimilation," in which some second-generation youth will develop an "adversarial stance" toward the dominant society and will assimilate, but into the American "underclass."
John Mollenkopf, of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York; Philip Kasinitz, of the Graduate Center and Hunter College; Mary C. Waters, of Harvard University; and Nancy Lopez and Dae Young Kim, both of the Graduate Center, have undertaken a detailed study of the school experience, labor market outcomes, and social incorporation of the current second generation as its leading edge enters adulthood. The authors are in the early stages of an empirical study of young adults (ages 18 to 32) in the New York metropolitan area who were born in the United States to post-1965 immigrant parents or who were born abroad but arrived in the United States by age 12. They compare the largest groups from the three major streams of immigration in the New York metropolitan area—Anglophone West Indians, Dominicans, and Chinese—with young adult native-born whites and blacks and mainland-born Puerto Ricans. The authors present the results of a pilot study conducted to test alternative sampling strategies for the full survey—a large-scale telephone survey, in-depth in-person interviews with a subsample of survey respondents, and ethnographies.