Coethnic Communities and Education in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom

My current book project examines how coethnic communities shape the educational attainment of immigrants' children in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Using nationally representative survey data from the three countries, I examine how three characteristics of the coethnic community—community education, community income, and community size—affect educational attainment. Overall, I find that the average education level of the coethnic community has a positive effect on the educational attainment of immigrants' children in all three countries. The positive community effect is particularly strong for immigrant children in Canada and the UK because it helps them alleviate the structural challenges posed by the presence of selective immigration policies, a harsh climate for immigrants, and the structure of opportunities for native-born racial and ethnic minorities. While qualitative studies suggest that the coethnic community positively affects educational attainment, my research quantitatively shows that for several Western countries, the coethnic community does indeed positively affect educational attainment but its strength may differ according to the characteristics of the host society. My findings show that while skill-based migration policies offer some advantages in Canada and the United Kingdom, such as a large number of educated and skilled immigrants, there are also some disadvantages for immigrant children that lead to a late arrival in Canada and poor schooling outcomes. As there is a strong push for the US to adopt a similar skilled-based policy, this has implications for local schools and communities and how they can devise policies to help immigrant children catch up and succeed in school.