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ERIC Number: ED536285
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Oct
Pages: 40
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 46
Patterns and Predictors of School Readiness and Early Childhood Success among Young Children in Black Immigrant Families
Crosby, Danielle A.; Dunbar, Angel S.
Migration Policy Institute
Policy and academic interest in young children has grown substantially in recent years, prompted in part by advancements in the scientific understanding of early childhood and mounting evidence of the importance of early experiences for later development. Of particular concern is the finding that achievement disparities among different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups emerge before children begin school and often persist long term. Over the past decade, there has been a marked increase in the number of studies focused on the antecedents of early school success that aim to inform policy and practice, and ultimately improve outcomes for children. There has also been an increased focus on children in immigrant families--a sizable and growing share of the US child population--within this body of literature. However, most studies of school readiness among children of immigrants have focused on Hispanic (and, to a lesser extent, Asian) families, leaving a significant gap in knowledge about the early childhood experiences of children in other immigrant groups. Despite the fact that 12 percent of all Black children living in the United States are first- or second-generation immigrants (from Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and other regions), there has been comparatively little research on their health and development, particularly in early childhood. The goal of this report is to help address this gap by providing information about the patterns and predictors of school readiness skills among US-born children in Black immigrant families. Drawing on a unique data set that follows a nationally representative cohort of children from birth to school entry, the authors describe the early childhood experiences and outcomes of children in Black immigrant families relative to their peers in other immigrant and native groups (defined by race/ethnicity and parents' region of origin). The data presented here indicate several areas of strength for Black immigrant families that are likely to support positive outcomes for their children, including high rates of marriage, parental education and employment and English proficiency. Good health practices on the part of Black immigrant mothers--such as very low rates of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use during pregnancy and very high rates of breastfeeding--may explain the generally positive health outcomes the authors observe among their children. The children of Black immigrant parents face less risk of low birth weight than children of Black US-born parents and fewer birth complications than children of Hispanic immigrants. During early childhood, Black immigrant parents also consistently report their children as being in good health, and are more likely to do so than Hispanic immigrant parents. In addition to investing in health, Black immigrant parents also report strong support of education for young children. They express higher educational expectations for their children than most groups of US-born parents and Hispanic immigrant parents, and are very likely to enroll them in center-based care during their preschool years. Center care use is particularly high among Caribbean immigrant families, who identify preparation for kindergarten as a key reason for selecting this type of child care. Methodological Details are appended. (Contains 11 tables and 50 footnotes.)
Migration Policy Institute. 1400 16th Street NW Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-266-1940; Fax: 202-266-1900; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Kindergarten
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Foundation for Child Development
Authoring Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)