Hispanics in the U.S. Labor Market: A Tale of Three Generations

Pia M. Orrenius, Madeline Zavodny
2018 Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Working Papers  
Immigrants' descendants typically assimilate toward mainstream social and economic outcomes across generations. Hispanics in the United States are a possible exception to this pattern. Although there is a growing literature on intergenerational progress, or lack thereof, in education and earnings among Hispanics, there is little research on employment differences across immigrant generations. Using data from 1996 to 2017, this study reveals considerable differences in Hispanics' employment
more » ... cs' employment rates across immigrant generations. Hispanic immigrant men tend to have higher employment rates than non-Hispanic whites and second-and third-plus generation Hispanics. Hispanic immigrant women have much lower employment rates, but employment rates rise considerably in the second generation. Nonetheless, U.S.-born Hispanic women are less likely than non-Hispanic white women to work. The evidence thus suggests segmented assimilation, in which the descendants of Hispanic immigrants have worse outcomes across generations. While relatively low education levels do not appear to hamper Hispanic immigrants' employment, they play a key role in explaining low levels of employment among Hispanic immigrants' descendants. Race and selective ethnic attrition may also contribute to some of the patterns uncovered here. JEL classification: J11, J15, E24
doi:10.24149/wp1809 fatcat:bktpusz6bvaylmcvvnxalt4ika