Over the past several decades, increasing numbers of immigrants have come to the United States, fleeing war and persecution in their homelands or seeking better life chances. Today, one-fourth of U.S. children and adolescents have foreign-born parents, mostly originating from Latin American, the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa. Although some move with their parents, nearly 90 percent of young people from immigrant families are U.S.-born citizens.
How well are these youths—now the fastest growing sector of the U.S. youth population—adapting to their families’ new country? To find out, researchers use multiple research methods: academic testing, questionnaires assessing psychological adjustment, and in-depth ethnographies.
Academic Achievement and Adjustment
Although educators and laypeople often assume that the transition to a new country has a negative impact on psychological well-being, many children of immigrant parents adapt amazingly well. Students who are first generation (foreign-born) or second generation (American-born, with immigrant parents) often achieve in school as well as or better than students of native-born parents