New Destinations, New Trajectories? The Educational Progress of Hispanic Youth in North Carolina


  • We are grateful to the Institute for Education Sciences and the Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research for financial support, to the editors and two anonymous referees for helpful comments, and to Sarah Gordon and Kyle Ott for research assistance. North Carolina administrative public school data used in this article are available to researchers through the North Carolina Education Research Data Center, conditional on approval of an IRB protocol at their home institution and agreement with NCERDC confidentiality restrictions. We are grateful to the NCERDC for providing access to this resource. Vigdor thanks the William T. Grant foundation for support via the W.T. Grant Scholars program. Any opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and should not be attributed to any affiliated organization.

concerning this article should be addressed to Jacob Vigdor, Sanford School of Public Policy, Box 90312, Durham, NC 27708. Electronic mail may be sent to


Since 1990, Latin American immigrants to the United States have dispersed beyond traditional gateway regions to a number of “new destinations.” Both theory and past empirical evidence provide mixed guidance as to whether the children of these immigrants are adversely affected by residing in a nontraditional destination. This study uses administrative public school data to study over 2,800 8- to 18-year-old Hispanic youth in one new destination, North Carolina. Conditional on third-grade socioeconomic indicators, Hispanic youth who arrive by age 9 and remain enrolled in North Carolina public schools close achievement gaps with socioeconomically similar White students by sixth grade and exhibit significantly lower high school dropout rates. Their performance resembles that of first-generation youth in more established immigration gateways.