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Abstract

This study examines the family background and late childhood factors that influence the educational attainment of young Latino men. Using rich data available from the National Longitudinal Survey of Labor Market Experience-Youth Cohort, the author approached this study through a series of incremental regression models. The sample consists of 419 Latino male youth, ages 14 to 17, who were living at home in 1979. The analysis covers the years 1978 to 1988. The study, using data gathered during the respondents' childhood and early adolescence, surveys their educational outcomes approximately ten years later, when they are young adults. To account for the diversity of the experience of Latinos of different ethnic origins, the author included a dummy variable for ethnicity. The findings show that family background and resources, namely father's income and education, number of siblings, educational resources in the home, and national origin, have a strong effect on the total years of schooling completed. However, social psychological attributes, cognitive ability, parental socialization, and timing of immigration and generational status have a significant effect on education independent of social origins. In addition, the study also shows that second-generation Latino men achieve greater educational success than immigrants, but that third-generation Latino men show a marked lack of progress. Finally, the study, controlling for social origins and generation, demonstrates that Puerto Ricans acquire, on average, one full year less schooling than men of Mexican origin. Overall, the full model explains 44 percent of the variance in the level of educational attainment of young Latino men.

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