May 28, 2009

Latino Children: A Majority Are U.S.-Born Offspring of Immigrants

Appendix A: Generational Status of Historical Hispanic Children

Table 2, Figure 1, and the historical portions (1980 to 2007) portions of Figures 2 and 3 are based on new Pew Hispanic Center tabulations of Decennial Census data and the 2007 American Community Survey (ACS). These data provide the self-reported citizenship status of each child. Thus, whether a Hispanic child is or is not a U.S. citizen at birth (and thus “first generation”) can be ascertained for every child. However, among children who are citizens at birth (second generation or higher), there is some imprecision in determining their generation. The Decennial Census data do not ask respondents about their parents’ place of birth. To determine generational status for U.S. citizens at birth, this analysis followed the common methodology of examining the citizenship status of parents residing in the household (Landale, Oropesa and Llanes, 1998; Bleakley and Chin, 2004). The Integrated Public Use Micro Samples (IPUMS) version of these data provide convenient linkages of a mother’s and father’s characteristics (including nativity) to children in the household. Hence, we can establish the generational status for native-born children who reside with at least one parent. But some Hispanic children who are citizens at birth do not reside in households; and even if they do reside in a household, they may not reside with a parent. The generational status of these children in the second generation or higher is unknown. Appendix Table A1 reports the generational status of Hispanic children from 1980 to 2007 broken down into four generational categories: first generation, second generation, third generation or higher, and “generation unknown.” The number of Hispanic children who were citizens at birth and do not reside with any parent in a household (the “generation unknown” category) is not zero, but it also is not a large percentage.

The percentages reported in the text abstract from the fourth “generation unknown” category. That is, the figures report the generational percentages among Hispanic children who have a known generational status.