School enrollment among Mexican and non-Hispanic white youth: do assumptions about the “at-risk” immigrant population matter?

Sal Oropesa, Pennsylvania State University
Nancy S. Landale, Pennsylvania State University

Using data from the 2000 Public Use Sample of the U.S. Census, this research has three objectives. First, we demonstrate the extent to which estimates of school enrollment and work activities for Mexican adolescents are affected by how the at-risk population is defined (i.e., whether immigrants who never enrolled in U.S. schools are excluded). Second, we examine the implications of assumptions about the at-risk population for inferences about inter-ethnic differences and intra-ethnic differences in the role of nativity (and length of residence in the U.S. among those born in Mexico). Third, we document the extent to which key demographic and socioeconomic factors account for the observed associations. The results indicate that inferences about the level of school enrollment and intra-ethnic differences in school enrollment depend on how those who are likely to have never enrolled in U.S. schools are treated. Inferences about inter-ethnic differences are less sensitive to this issue.

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Presented in Session 69: Education and Migration Process