Cognitive Development of Children in Immigrant Families: Living Arrangements and Parental Nativity

Jeehye Kang , Old Dominion University
Xiushi Yang, Old Dominion University

Objective: This paper examines the associations between family living arrangements and children’s cognitive scores for children of immigrants, relative to those of natives. Background: Previous research has contributed immigrant children’s cognitive advantage to their protective living arrangements, but no rigorous research has tested this hypothesis. Method: Hybrid random- and fixed-effects regression models are used on the sample from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—2011 Kindergarten cohort. Result: Single-parent family structure explains cognitive disparities between children (between-child effects); parental union status changes and transitions of grandparents explain the decline of cognitive scores within a child (within-child effects). Parental nativity significantly moderates the between- and within-child effects of family living arrangements, but the patterns vary across racial groups (moderation effects). Conclusion: The current research provides both a limited support for and a challenge to the immigrant paradox hypothesis

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 Presented in Session 2. Children & Youth