Wednesday, August 26

Interethnic marriages – how are the children impacted?

Quite an interesting question, no? And a partial answer is given here. I quote some interesting bits:

As interethnic marriages are becoming more common in immigrant countries research  on how these marriages affect the development of human capital of their children is growing. The findings are mixed. Chiswick and DebBurman (2004) and Ramakrishnan (2004) find that children from couples with one US born parent attain more years of education than children from couples with two foreign born parents.

The two studies differ in the importance of the gender of the US born parent. Chiswick and DebBurman (2004) find that having a US born father (+0.19 years) is more important than having a US born mother (+0.13 years), but according to Ramakrishnan (2004) having a US born mother (+0.26 years) is more important than having a US born father (+0.14 years). Furtado (2005) finds that having a US born mother even has a negative effect on the educational attainment of children. Children with a foreign born father and a US born mother have a higher high-school dropout rate than children from a foreign born mother and a US born father or two foreign born parents.

Besides this, the authors find that:

We find that children from marriages with native mothers have a higher educational attainment than children from ethnic homogeneous Moluccan couples or couples with a native father. In raising Moluccan children, mothers traditionally play a dominant role, and for native Dutch mothers it is easier to support their children in their educational career because they have more experience with and knowledge about the Dutch educational system and possibly also better language skills than Moluccan mothers from the first and second generation.

This was quite interesting. I never thought about it in this way at all. Always thought that there was a difference between the native born kids and foreign born kids, but as it seems, the impact of the parents is important. I have seen that in my own case as well. We missed out on many opportunities for our own kids because we did not know the in’s and out’s of the British educational system. For example, in hindsight, we should have worked much harder on getting our son into the grammar school stream and for that, we should have bought a house near the damn school. But we will learn from this for our little princess.

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