Children of immigrants who can speak, read and write in both English and the language spoken at home have an advantage in the labor market, a new report released Tuesday finds.The report by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA and the Educational Testing Service, a nonprofit testing organization, shows that individuals with immigrant backgrounds who only speak English and don't retain the language spoken at home lose between $2,000 and $5,000 annually.
In contrast, those with immigrant backgrounds who know both English and the language spoken at home—also known as "balanced bilinguals"—are more likely to earn more money than those who only speak English. They are also more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, enter higher status occupations and have more social networks.
"Being able to speak another language and being able to communicate with folks across cultural borders turns out to be very important in our modern world," Patricia Gándara, the report's author, said during a webinar Tuesday.
Gándara, who's also a research professor and co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, pointed out that Latinos who speak both Spanish and English go to four-year-year colleges at higher rates.
She called this "an extraordinary finding that we really need to pay attention to" given that Latinos are among those with low rates of college completion, and that many Latinos go to two-year colleges but don't transfer to universities to continue their education.
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