Economist's study finds that immigration doesn't threaten US-born students' chances at college

February 4, 2010

High school students born in the United States need not view their immigrant classmates as a threat to getting a good standardized test score and, ultimately, into a good college, according to a Kansas State University economist.

Florence Neymotin, an assistant professor of economics, evaluated students' Scholastic Aptitude Test scores over seven years, taking into account the immigrant makeup of the students' communities. She concluded that the native students' scores weren't negatively affected by immigration and that their chances of applying to a top college or university weren't diminished.

"With immigration, I think people do get concerned and wonder whether their non-immigrant children are going to get a good education if they are in public schools with many immigrants, and whether the parents of these non-immigrant children should, therefore, move their children to schools with fewer immigrants," Neymotin said. "These results can quell anti-immigrant sentiment to some extent, but I don't think this is the complete picture of immigration by any means."

In October 2009, the research appeared in the Economics Education Review and was featured in the editor's choice section of the journal Science.

Neymotin said previous research has looked at how low-skilled immigrants affect low-skilled natives, for instance in terms of wages and employment. But she and other researchers are interested in how immigration is affecting high-skilled natives, such as in . Neymotin wanted to see whether immigrants in schools were actually harming U.S.-born , particularly in terms of test scores.

"From what I was seeing in people transitioning from high school to college, the answer is no," she said.

Neymotin looked at SAT scores of public school students in California and Texas between 1994 and 2001. She matched the scores with characteristics about the students' schools and communities and concluded that native students' SAT scores weren't harmed by immigration.

Neymotin looked at California and Texas because they are high immigration states active in legislation affecting both immigration and schools. Moreover, the makeup of Hispanic and Asian immigrants was different in the two states, allowing her to see if results were consistent.

Since this study, Neymotin also has examined entrepreneurship and volunteerism among .

Explore further: Children of immigrants seek math, science

Related Stories

Anti-immigrant sentiment greater in California than Texas

March 2, 2009

Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC (March 2, 2009) California and Texas have the largest populations of Mexican immigrants in all of the United States. A recent study, published by SAGE in the January/February ...

Immigrant Blacks More Likely to Attend Elite Colleges

August 11, 2009

A larger proportion of immigrant black high school graduates attend selective colleges and universities than both native black and white students in America, according to a study by sociologists at Johns Hopkins University ...

Recommended for you

Who you gonna trust? How power affects our faith in others

October 6, 2015

One of the ongoing themes of the current presidential campaign is that Americans are becoming increasingly distrustful of those who walk the corridors of power – Exhibit A being the Republican presidential primary, in which ...

The hand and foot of Homo naledi

October 6, 2015

The second set of papers related to the remarkable discovery of Homo naledi, a new species of human relative, have been published in scientific journal, Nature Communications, on Tuesday, 6 October 2015.

Ancient genome from Africa sequenced for the first time

October 8, 2015

The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected ...

From a very old skeleton, new insights on ancient migrations

October 9, 2015

Three years ago, a group of researchers found a cave in Ethiopia with a secret: it held the 4,500-year-old remains of a man, with his head resting on a rock pillow, his hands folded under his face, and stone flake tools surrounding ...

Mexican site yields new details of sacrifice of Spaniards

October 9, 2015

It was one of the worst defeats in one of history's most dramatic conquests: Only a year after Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico, hundreds of people in a Spanish-led convey were captured, sacrificed and apparently eaten.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.