Welfare and the Children of Immigrants: Transmission of Dependence or Investment in the Future?

Welfare and the Children of Immigrants: Transmission of Dependence or Investment in the Future? The public concern that immigrant families might be using a disproportionate share of social benefits and transmitting some form of public dependency to their children, combined with the rising levels of immigrants entering the country, fueled the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in 1996, which limited public assistance to many immigrant families. This paper uses the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 to explore the association between exposure to welfare and young adult outcomes of high school graduation, college enrollment and labor force participation with a focus on parental nativity status as well as broad country of origin group. Results indicate a persistent negative association between welfare legacy and high school graduation; a negative association that is most pronounced for children of natives. Results also show the largest positive effect of welfare receipt among the most disadvantaged group, the young adult children of immigrants from Mexican and Central American countries. The main finding of this study suggests that the negative impacts of welfare receipt might be lessened and in some cases reversed among the young adults from immigrant families. Such findings challenge the common notion that immigrant families use welfare as a crutch across generations and raise serious concern about U.S. immigration and welfare policies. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Population Research and Policy Review Springer Journals

Welfare and the Children of Immigrants: Transmission of Dependence or Investment in the Future?

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Social Sciences; Demography; Sociology, general; Population Economics
ISSN
0167-5923
eISSN
1573-7829
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11113-009-9169-y
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The public concern that immigrant families might be using a disproportionate share of social benefits and transmitting some form of public dependency to their children, combined with the rising levels of immigrants entering the country, fueled the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in 1996, which limited public assistance to many immigrant families. This paper uses the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 to explore the association between exposure to welfare and young adult outcomes of high school graduation, college enrollment and labor force participation with a focus on parental nativity status as well as broad country of origin group. Results indicate a persistent negative association between welfare legacy and high school graduation; a negative association that is most pronounced for children of natives. Results also show the largest positive effect of welfare receipt among the most disadvantaged group, the young adult children of immigrants from Mexican and Central American countries. The main finding of this study suggests that the negative impacts of welfare receipt might be lessened and in some cases reversed among the young adults from immigrant families. Such findings challenge the common notion that immigrant families use welfare as a crutch across generations and raise serious concern about U.S. immigration and welfare policies.

Journal

Population Research and Policy ReviewSpringer Journals

Published: Nov 21, 2009

References

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