The American Dream And The Children Of Immigrants : The Indicator from Planet Money A new working paper suggests that children of poor immigrants have higher rates of upward economic mobility than children of poor US-born parents. What factors are at play?

The American Dream And The Children Of Immigrants


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CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 16: Immigrants from 25 countries participate in a naturalization ceremony in Daley Plaza on September 16, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Seventy people were awarded their U.S. citizenship at the Citizenship Day ceremony. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images

The U.S. started experiencing large waves of immigration from the 19th century. Historically, immigrants have faced a lot of barriers. From a language barrier, lack of a social structure, various working restrictions, abuses, and more, the American Dream for immigrants often yields to a messy reality.

But if we broaden the concept of the American Dream to include the children of immigrants, you may get a different story. A new working paper by economic historians reveals children of poor immigrants achieve more economic and social mobility when compared to children of poor U.S.-born parents. We speak to economist Leah Boustan, one of the co-authors of this paper, to explain the results she found.

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