Fluent Bilingualism and Educational Ambitions of Immigrant Youths

Ratna M. Magarati, University of Washington

Using the University of Washington Beyond High School survey data, I examine determinants of language proficiency and its consequences on a variety of social psychological and socioeconomic adaptation outcomes. In particular, I explore whether fluent bilingualism—proficiency in both minority home language and English—provides an adaptation advantage to the children of the post-1960 immigrants compared to their English monolingual or limited bilingual peers. The results indicate that family social background is a strong predictor of educational ambitions and attainment. Korean- and Vietnamese-speaking seniors report higher educational ambitions than Spanish-, Khmer- and Russian-speaking seniors. Fluent bilingual youths hold higher educational aspirations and expectations than their English monolingual peers when family social background, family structure and generational status are controlled.

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Presented in Poster Session 5