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Divergent Destinies: Children of Immigrants Growing Up in the United States


More than a quarter century of research has generated fruitful results and new insights into the understanding of the lived experiences of the new second generation, which broadly includes both native-born and foreign-born children of immigrant parentage. We critically review the burgeoning literature on the divergent trajectories and unequal outcomes of this new second generation. Given recent changes in immigration policy and in contexts of both exit and reception for new immigrants, we pay special attention to the significance of selectivity and immigration status. We begin by revisiting the canonical literature on assimilation and presenting the original formulation of the segmented assimilation theory as a critique. We then assess the impressive body of empirical research and discuss alternative concepts, models, and paradigms. We conclude our review by discussing the implications for future research on the children of immigrants.

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