Population Change and the Changing Educational Attainment of Ethnic Groups in the United States

Wilson, Franklin, Uzi Rebhun, and Salvador Rivas
Working paper no. 2008-02


This study assesses the effect of population change on decade changes in the educational attainment level of ethnic (ancestry) populations in the United States. Our data derive from decennial censuses, NLMS, World Bank and INS. We find that changes in the share of ethnic populations with one or more years of post secondary schooling are associated with selected components of population change during the 1980-1990 and 1990-2000 decades. The specific components include survivors during a decade, in-migration and emigration of the foreign-born. Likewise, intra-generational mobility is an important determinant of changes in educational attainment. The discussion addresses some limitations of the data and suggests directions for future research.