Peer-reviewed publications

Hoffmann, Nathan I. 2018. “Cognitive Achievement of Children of Immigrants: Evidence from the Millennium Cohort Study and the 1970 British Cohort Study.” British Educational Research Journal 44 (6): 1005–28.
Although numerous studies have described the educational attainment of ethnic minorities in the UK, few have focused specifically on children born in the UK to two immigrant parents. First, using ordinary least squares (OLS) estimation, this article examines the cognitive assessment scores of children of immigrants in the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) and the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). It then exploits the richer data of the MCS to construct multilevel models for children of immigrants in this more recent cohort. In the BCS70, children of immigrants show significant gaps at ages 5 and 10 in both reading and maths scores. Even when controls are included in the OLS model for the BCS70, children of Caribbean immigrants are expected to perform worse in both assessments. In the raw MCS data, on the other hand, nearly no gap remains in age‐11 and ‐14 assessments. Although Bangladeshi children of immigrants in the MCS have negative coefficients in the OLS analysis, in the final multilevel model for the MCS, all children of immigrants follow positive trajectories wherein no group attains distinguishably lower scores than their peers in later assessments, and Indian children of immigrants even outperform their peers in the MCS model’s predictions.

working papers

Strangers in the Homeland? The Academic Performance of Children of Return Migrants in Mexico
The number of return migrants from the U.S. to Mexico has swelled in recent years, and yet we know little about the academic performance of the over 500,000 U.S.-born children who have accompanied them. This paper harnesses PISA test score data to compare U.S.-born children of return migrants in Mexico to two groups: Mexican-born students in Mexico, and students in the U.S. born to Spanish-speaking immigrant parents. Contrary to previous work highlighting the academic struggles faced by children of return migrants, these adolescents attain higher PISA scores than their Mexican-born counterparts. This advantage persists in models that control for both pre- and post-migration family characteristics. However, these adolescents’ scores are much lower than similar youths in the U.S. Controlling for variables related to immigrant selection does little to change estimates of disparities.
Making Migration Sexy: How State and National Policies Influence Migration of Same-Sex Couples
As same-sex couples gain greater social acceptance and new rights, their numbers reported on surveys in the United States are rapidly increasing. Yet few researchers have studied immigrants in same-sex couples on a large scale. Using the American Community Survey from 2008 to 2019, this study compares immigrants in same-sex couples to corresponding different-sex couples in order to characterize and assess the scale of LGB migration to the U.S. as well as the role of LGB policy. Compared to different-sex immigrant couples, immigrants in same-sex couples come from richer, more democratic countries that are less represented in immigrant networks. Contrary to previous work focusing on LGB immigrants from repressive contexts, fixed effects models show that these immigrants are more likely to come from LGB-friendly countries. In addition, immigrants in same-sex couples are more likely to live in progressive U.S. states, net of potential confounders. This effect increases in strength as migrants come from more LGB-friendly countries of origin. These findings put into question dominant models of migration that emphasize economic and network effects, suggesting the importance of considering sexuality as well as political and lifestyle motivations more broadly.
A “Win-Win Exercise”? Eastern European Children in Western Europe
Since the end of the Cold War, millions of migrants from Eastern Europe have sought better opportunities in Western European countries, yet few studies have assessed the impact of such moves on these migrants’ children. This study employs a causal dissimilation approach to examine the effect of migration on children’s educational outcomes. It analyzes Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) scores from 2012, 2015, and 2018 for children born in twelve Eastern European countries and living in eight Western European countries. Compared to their counterparts who remained in their countries of origin, migrant children attain lower reading, math, and science scores. Once immigrant children are matched to non-immigrants with similar propensities to migrate, the disparity for math scores disappears, while those for reading and science remain. Children who migrate from within the EU, at older ages, who speak a foreign language at home, and who are female face greater disparities. This paper shows how a dissimilation perspective yields different insights than a classic assimilation approach and shows the need for policymakers and educational administrators to better handle the negative academic effects that migration can have on children from within Europe.
The Importance of Context: Children of Immigrants in the United Kingdom
Numerous studies of the United Kingdom demonstrate that outcomes for children of immigrants vary by ethnicity, but few test mechanisms to explain these results or engage with the significant heterogeneity within ethnic groups. Immigration scholarship in the United States has fruitfully harnessed models of group-level contextual effects in explaining individual outcomes. The first to implement such a methodology in the United Kingdom, this study elucidates the group-level factors most salient for verbal and quantitative cognitive achievement, socioemotional development, and likelihood of obesity for children of immigrants in the Millennium Cohort Study. By harnessing a range of indicators of both sending- and receiving-country context in three-level growth models, this paper finds that group-level average education, proportion with refugee status, and measured discrimination are significantly associated with the outcomes of children of immigrants, even in models controlling for individual factors. Furthermore, although sending-country values are insignificant for achievement and development, such values are significantly associated with the likelihood of childhood obesity.