Up for Grabs: The Gains and Prospects of First- and Second-generation Young Adults

Jeanne Batalova and Michael Fix
Date of Publication: 
November, 2011
Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute

Youth and young adults from immigrant families today represent one in four people in the United States between the ages of 16 and 26 — up from one in five just 15 years ago. This population will assume a greater role as the US workforce ages, and how it fares in the classroom and in the workplace is of signal importance not just for these individuals but for the vibrancy of the overall US economy and local communities.

In this report, first- and second-generation young adults ages 16 to 26 are profiled as they pass through differing stages of life. The report finds that these 11.3 million young immigrant-origin adults are far from a monolithic group: they differ widely in their language, age of arrival, citizenship status, gender, and race and ethnicity — all factors that have a profound effect on their educational and workforce outcomes. Some of these young adults, particularly second-generation Hispanics, are not graduating from college at the same rate or on the same timeline because of family, work, or economic reasons.

The study examines the size and composition of the first and second generations and seeks to gauge whether they are on track to complete postsecondary education and obtain jobs that pay family-sustaining wages. In so doing, the report aims to inform the policies and practices of the postsecondary educational institutions that play a critical role in shaping the nation’s current and future workforce.

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Batalova, J. and Fix, M. (2011). Up for Grabs: The Gains and Prospects of First- and Second-generation Young Adults. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved from https://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/grabs-gains-and-prospects-first-and-second-generation-young-adults