Schooling for Newcomers: Variation in Educational Persistence in the United States in 1920

Stewart E. Tolnay, University of Washington
Amy K. Bailey, University of Washington

Using PUMS data, we conduct a multi-level analysis of individual, familial, and community-level variables influencing educational persistence for immigrant and Southern-born adolescents in the non-southern U.S in 1920. We employ logistic regression to compare educational persistence among adolescents from different demographic groups: Northern- and Southern-born Blacks and Whites; and foreign-born Jewish and non-Jewish Whites. We also examine the effects of contextual characteristics on schooling for youth living in cities with populations of 25,000 or greater. Our dependent variable is whether the adolescent was in school and not working. The primary individual-level, independent variables are gender, age, race, being Jewish, and nativity. Family-level predictors include family structure and parental literacy. State and type of residence are also controlled. Within our urban subsample, we consider residential segregation, percent black or foreign-born, and socioeconomic factors. Significant between-group differences are found. Results are interpreted in light of previous work on historical racial and ethnic variation in schooling.

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Presented in Session 92: Educational Differences among Immigrants in the United States