Children of immigrants seek math, science

September 14, 2006

A U.S. researcher has determined children of immigrants are more likely to pursue math and science as pathways to upward mobility.

The study by Vivian Tseng, a program officer with New York's William Grant Foundation, found children of immigrants are more likely to pursue math and science in college than are students from the same ethnic groups whose families have been in the United States for generations.

Additionally, the study found the pursuit of math and science is not isolated to one immigrant group, but exists for children of Latino, Afro-Caribbean and European immigrants.

"For child development researchers, this growth in immigration raises important questions about how children of immigrants are faring in school and work and how the challenges and opportunities of immigration influence how they fare," she said.

Tseng surveyed nearly 800 college students between the ages of 18 and 25 about their aspirations. She also collected data on their majors from the large, urban university they attended.

Students from immigrant families and children of immigrants were defined as those with at least one immigrant parent.

The study appears in the September/October issue of the journal Child Development.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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