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Poverty among U.S.- and Foreign-Born Asian and Hispanic Adults: A Comparison across “Fractionalized” Immigrant Generations

June 2011

Marie T. Mora, The University of Texas – Pan American

Download '2011-20_NPC_Working_Paper.pdf'.


Using public-use data from the 2009 American Community Survey, this study analyzes poverty rates among Hispanic and Asian adults while considering “fractionalized” immigrant generations: Generation 1.75 (those who migrated to the U.S. before the age of six), Generation 1.5 (those who migrated at between the ages of 6-18 and acquired some of their primary or secondary education in the U.S.), and Generation 1.0 (those who migrated after completing all of their primary and secondary education abroad). Consistent with other studies on immigrant/native poverty differentials, first generation immigrants in both groups were significantly more likely to be impoverished than U.S. natives. However, Generation 1.75, and to a lesser extent, Generation 1.5 Hispanic adults had significantly lower poverty rates than their U.S.-born counterparts, while Generation 1.75 and 1.5 Asian adults had similar poverty rates as U.S.-born Asians. Differences in socioeconomic, demographic, and geographic characteristics do not fully explain these differences. Such findings indicate that poverty-reduction policies might be more effective if they go beyond considering broad classifications of race/ethnicity and birthplace, incorporating at a minimum the timing of migration among foreign-born in their lifecycles.

Immigration, Race and Ethnicity