Migration Patterns and English Language Proficiency among First Generation Migrants to the U.S.

Eric Ketcham, Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY)
Jeremy Porter, City University of New York (CUNY)

Migrants to the US may follow several paths settling in the US. Some migrate directly to the US and stay, others migrate through intermediary countries, and still others enter and re-enter the US several times. We posit that these migratory patterns correlate with acquisition of the English language. Using the New Immigrant Survey (NIS), we create maps of the prevalence of migration pattern by country of origin. We then use ordinal logistic modeling to predict English language proficiency among these groups. Previous research has focused on psycholinguistic constraints on second language acquisition, economic incentives to learn English, acculturation theories, and assimilation theories to explain English language acquisition. This research approaches this topic from a new perspective by understanding how migration patterns interact with language acquisition.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Economy, Labor Force, Education and Inequality