The school careers of immigrant children in France and in the United States


Yael, Brinbaum (2008). The school careers of immigrant children in France and in the United States. 2008 Add Health Users Conference. Bethesda, MD.


This paper aims at comparing the educations of immigrant children in France and in the U.S. The objective is to analyze the schooling process from aspirations to educational attainment and to shape the patterns of educational inequality in both countries. The comparison is focused on children from two groups: North Africans in France and Mexicans in the U.S. (compared to French born families and White third generation). After a description of their schooling careers, we will look for mechanisms and factors explaining those outcomes, including migration/ethnicity, family and social background, child characteristics, and school factors as educational aspirations. Two longitudinal datasets are used: the National Educational Panel of the French Ministry of Education and Add Health data. Both datasets cover the same period and allow the follow up of the children over their whole school career in secondary education. In Add Health, we use mainly the home questionnaires in Waves I and III as the AHAA component. Preliminary results show that immigrant families have high aspirations in both contexts: North Africans express higher aspirations than native French with similar background. There are fewer differences between Mexicans’ children and White third generation. Second generation children encounter more difficulties in schools. They are more likely to repeat a year, to drop out and less likely to graduate from high school, but most of the disadvantages are related to their social background. Educational aspirations are a predictor of schooling careers. Finally, we’ll investigate how those results can be explained by the educational system itself.


Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

2008 Add Health Users Conference


Yael, Brinbaum

Year Published


City of Publication

Bethesda, MD

Reference ID