ETHNICITIES by Rubén G. Rumbaut

ETHNICITIES

Children of Immigrants in America
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KIRKUS REVIEW

An analysis of the acculturation patterns and future prospects of children within key ethnic groups living in the San Diego and Miami/Ft. Lauderdale areas.

Rumbaut (Immigration Research for a New Century, not reviewed) and Portes (City on the Edge, 1993) have assembled a dense volume outlining the status of children of recent immigrants to the US. Their study focuses on the offspring of Mexican, Cuban, Nicaraguan, Filipino, Vietnamese, Haitian, and Jamaican immigrants. These second-generation youngsters do not adopt American identities as was thought, but rather turn toward ethnic identities and away from assimilation. The contrasts between immigration groups are startling. In a comparison between two groups with the longest US contact—the children of Mexican and of Filipino immigrants—the Mexican-American study is especially dispiriting: this group shows substantially lower achievement in contrast to all other second-generation groups. Their educational and occupational aspirations are unrealistic (67 percent anticipate completing college, while only 10 to 20 percent will actually do so), leading the authors to note that they will certainly be dissatisfied with the poorly paid work done by their parents, but, as a group, they will not be able to compete for the highly skilled jobs they aspire to. If decent jobs in the middle range do not materialize, the situation could become unpleasant. On the other hand, Filipino immigrants (in population second only to Mexican immigrants) tend to be college-educated professionals, and fit easily into the US middle class. The children of this group have realistically high educational desires, with daughters hoping to obtain advanced degrees (a significant percentage seek medical careers), and sons aiming for a bachelors of science. (Males tend to choose engineering and computer technology fields.)

While the statistical information will soon overwhelm nonacademics, this is a timely and important subject.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-520-23011-6
Page count: 346pp
Publisher: Univ. of California
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2001