The Living Arrangements of Children in Immigrant Families in the United States1


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    Direct all correspondence to Peter Brandon, Department of Sociology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, <> The author thanks members of the National Research Council's Panel on the Health and Adjustment of Immigrant Children and Families, especially Donald Hernandez and Sandra Hofferth, for recommendations on empirical approaches. The author also thanks two anonymous referees, Barry Edmonston, Charles Hirschman, Grace Kao, Yu Xie, Rebecca Clark, and participants at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America for helpful suggestions on earlier drafts of the paper.


Little is known about the living arrangements of first- and second-generation immigrant children. Using data from the Current Population Survey and a multivariate approach, I compared living arrangements of immigrant children to U.S.-born white children with U.S.-born parents. Findings show, except for foreign-born black and some Hispanic children, that foreign-born children lived with married parents more frequently than did U.S.-born white children with U.S.-born parents. However, by the third generation, a pattern emerged showing a decline in living with married parents among some immigrant children and a rise in living with single parents. The noticeable “downward assimilation” amon some second and third-generation immigrant children fits a theory of segmented assimilation and is concerning because single-parent families confront more social problems and sociodemographic risks.