Gender Differences in Young Latino Adults’ Status Attainment: Understanding Bilingualism in the Familial Context


*Sampson Lee Blair is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, 430 Park Hall, The State University of New York, Buffalo, NY 14260-4140 (

José A. Cobas is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-4802 (


Abstract: Previous studies have demonstrated that bilingualism among Latinos in the United States may not necessarily result in negative status attainment consequences. Such studies have typically overlooked gender differences in the consequences of bilingualism. Using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study (N= 866 females; 737 males), we analyzed gender differences in how bilingualism among Latino families (as experienced in childhood and adolescence) may affect the status attainment of young adults. Results indicated that females were more substantially affected by language use and ability in the family context than males. The findings suggest that gender roles within Latino families are interwoven with the effects of bilingualism. Practice and policy implications include how schools and educators must address the gendered nature of bilingualism.