More immigrant IQ

So I did a lit review on racial differences in cognitive ability by generation. I should have done this from the beginning, but I had no idea how much research there was on this. Of course, it’s all interpreted from an hyper-environmentalist perspective. Here’s a typical passage in a typical paper:

The negative selection hypothesis may help explain why specific race/ethnic groups, especially subgroups of Black and Latino children, on average, perform below White and Asian children on measurements of cognitive achievement. If parents of immigrant children migrate because of high levels of inequality and lack of opportunity in the country of origin, the negative selection hypothesis suggests that immigrants are more likely to have lower levels of education and ability (Borjas, 1990). Hence, the parents in certain immigrant subgroups may not have the resources—in terms of economic or cultural capital—to help their children succeed academically once in the United States. Moreover, first generation Black and Latino children encounter many obstacles associated with minority status in the United States, including discrimination, racism, and spatial segregation, all of which are risk factors for educational achievement (Palacios et al., 2008).

Notice how “genetic capital” is omitted from discussion. Give non-neglible within population heritabilities, it’s inevitable the parents and their children will bring along these resources too. Regardless, the stumbling block for the “negative selection” hypothesis is that a large body of research, which is completely ignored by the authors, shows that in the case of Black immigrants the contrary is true (e.g., Easterly and Nyarko, 2005; Model, 2005; Feliciano, 2005; Bennet and Lutz, 2009).

The general findings are that differences start early (Glick and Hohmann-Marriott, 2007; Glick, Bates, and Yabiku, 2009.) — in early youth — persist with a bundle of controls — and are found on numerous measures of ability across numerous samples.

(Articles which I already touched upon are in parentheses.)

Kao and Tienda., 1995. Optimism and Achievement: The Educational Performance of Immigrant Youth.

Hao and Bonstead-Bruns, 1998. Parent-Child Differences in Educational Expectations and the Academic Achievement of Immigrant and Native Students

Glick and White, 2003. The Academic Trajectories of Immigrant Youths: Analysis Within and Across Cohorts

Kao, 2004. Parental Influences on the Educutional Outcomes of Immigrant Youth

Glick and Hohmann-Marriott, 2007. Academic performance of young children in immigrant families- The significance of race, ethnicity, and national origins

Pong and Hao, 2007. Neighborhood and School Factors in the School Performance of Immigrants’ Children

(Massey et al. 2007. Black Immigrants and Black Natives Attending Selective Colleges and Universities in the United States.)

Palacios et al., 2008. Early Reading Achievement of Children in Immigrant Families- Is There an Immigrant Paradox?

Glick, Bates, and Yabiku, 2009. Mother’s age at arrival in the United States and early cognitive development

De Feyter and Winsler, 2009. The early developmental competencies and school readiness of low-income, immigrant children: Influences of generation, race/ethnicity, and national origins

(Bennett and Lutz. 2009. How African American is the net black advantage? Differences in college attendance among immigrant blacks, native blacks, and whites.)

(Richwine, 2009. IQ and Immigration Policy)

Jaret and Reitzes, 2009. Currents in a Stream: College Student Identities and Ethnic Identities and Their Relationship with Self-Esteem, Efficacy, and Grade Point Average in an Urban University

Conger, 2010. Immigrant Peers in School and Human Capital Development

Stiefel et al., 2010. Age of entry and the high school performance of immigrant youth

Crosnoe and Turley, 2011. K–12 Educational Outcomes of Immigrant Youth


Feliciano, 2005. Educational Selectivity in U.S. Immigration: How Do Immigrants Compare to Those Left Behind?

Easterly and Nyarko, 2005. Is the brain drain good for Africa?

Model, 2008. The Secret of West Indian Success

Bennet and Lutz, 2009. Bennet and Lutz. How African American is the net black advantage? Differences in college attendance among immigrant blacks, native blacks, and whites

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2 Responses to More immigrant IQ

  1. Thayer Martin says:

    However, couldn’t immigrants to our country be seen as a particularly driven and motivated subset of the huddled masses, and if (and it’s a big if) these qualities can be either inherited or taught, mightn’t they and their children have an advantage over a population that watches Oprah and eats Cheetos?

  2. Chuck says:

    Countries vary widely in how selected their migrants to the US are. See this chart from (Easterly and Nyarko, 2005).

    But yes, we would expect this from some countries. Presumably this is why some “Asians” do so well. But this is what makes the Black (and to some extent, Hispanic) 2nd generation (under)performance so queer. They should have a genetic (and cultural) edge — and being born and raised in the US, not too much of an environmental disadvantage. My opinion is that they do have an edge relative to those who stay behind (see: Model, 2008). But since the Black and Hispanic immigrants’ native populations themselves are behind (for cultural and genetic reasons), these immigrants, nonetheless, still underpreform Oprah watching, Cheetos eating Whites.

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