Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Comparison of immigrant children in four nations shows strengths, lags

Date:
September 11, 2012
Source:
Society for Research in Child Development
Summary:
Young children whose families immigrate to Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States are as prepared and capable of starting school as their native-born counterparts, with one exception -- vocabulary and language development. That's the finding of a new study that uses longitudinal data sets from the four countries to look at 40,000 children born between 2000 and 2003.

Young children whose families immigrate to Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States are as prepared and capable of starting school as their native-born counterparts, with one exception -- vocabulary and language development. That's the finding of a new study published in the September/October 2012 issue of the journal Child Development in a special section on the children of immigrants.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Bristol, Columbia University, the London School of Economics and Political Sciences, the University of New South Wales, the University of Ottawa, and the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), an independent research institute.

"In spite of important differences in some of the resources immigrant parents have to invest in their children, and in immigrant selection rules and settlement policies, across the four countries there are significant similarities in the relative positions of 4- and 5-year-old children of immigrants," notes Elizabeth Washbrook, lecturer in education at the University of Bristol, who led the study.

"The differences between immigrant families according to their home language are more striking than the differences across countries, with children of immigrants doing worse than their counterparts with native-born parents on vocabulary tests, particularly if a language other than the official language is spoken at home," Washbrook continues. "But these second-generation immigrants are not generally disadvantaged in nonverbal cognitive domains, nor are there notable behavioral differences, which suggests that the cross-country differences in cognitive outcomes during the teen years documented in the existing literature are much less evident during the early years."

Specifically, the children studied did as well in the areas of hyperactive and antisocial behaviors, aggressive behavior, and nonverbal skills as their counterparts who had native-born parents. According to Washbrook, this suggests that, "in spite of sometimes crucial differences in their backgrounds, the process of child development in immigrant families is such that children receive, on average, a start in life that puts them on par with other children -- with the one exception of language."

This finding contrasts with research on older second-generation immigrants which has shown, for example, that second-generation teens in Canada and Australia perform as well or even better than teens of native-born parents in reading, math, and science tests, while second-generation teens in the United Kingdom and the United States tend to perform worse in these areas than their peers who have native-born parents.

The study used similar large-scale longitudinal datasets from each of the four countries to study more than 40,000 children born in the first four years of the 2000s. While all four of the countries have historically been immigrant-receiving nations with common cultural, demographic, and labor market

characterisitcs, there are important differences among them in the way in which immigrants are selected, their settlement policies, and their more general schooling, family, and labor market policies.

"Our findings suggest that, to the extent cross-country differences exist across a wide range of cognitive skills in later years, these reflect not so much disadvantages during the preschool years, but rather differences in the capacity of social institutions―particularly the education system―to help children overcome their initial disadvantage in language skills, the single hurdle that is beyond the capacity of some of their parents," Washbrook explained.

The study was funded by the Australian Research Council, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Sutton Trust, with support from Statistics Canada. The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children is conducted in partnership between the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services, and Indigenous Affairs, the Australian Institute of Family Studies, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Research in Child Development. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Elizabeth Washbrook, Jane Waldfogel, Bruce Bradbury, Miles Corak and Ali A. Ghanghro. The Development of Young Children of Immigrants in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Child Development, 2012; DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01796.x

Cite This Page:

Society for Research in Child Development. "Comparison of immigrant children in four nations shows strengths, lags." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120911091511.htm>.
Society for Research in Child Development. (2012, September 11). Comparison of immigrant children in four nations shows strengths, lags. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120911091511.htm
Society for Research in Child Development. "Comparison of immigrant children in four nations shows strengths, lags." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120911091511.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Scientists are tripping the elderly on purpose in a Chicago lab in an effort to better prevent seniors from falling and injuring themselves in real life. (Aug.28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) It’s an unusual condition with a colorful name. Kids with “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome see sudden distortions in objects they’re looking at or their own bodies appear to change size, a lot like the main character in the Lewis Carroll story. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Scientists have long called choline a “brain booster” essential for human development. Not only does it aid in memory and learning, researchers now believe choline could help prevent mental illness. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive brain cancer in humans. Now a new treatment using the patient’s own tumor could help slow down its progression and help patients live longer. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins