Immigrant generations

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The term first-generation can refer to either people who were born in one country and relocated to another, or to their children born in the country they have relocated to. The term second-generation refers to children of first-generation immigrants, and thus exhibits the same ambiguity. The term 1.5 generation refers specifically to immigrants who arrived to the destination country before adolescence.

First generation[edit]

The term first-generation, as it pertains to a person's nationality or residency in a country, can imply two possible meanings, depending on context:

This ambiguity is captured and corroborated in The Oxford English Dictionary's definition of "generation":

...designating a member of the first (or second, etc.) generation of a family to do something or live somewhere; spec. designating a naturalized immigrant or a descendant of immigrant parents, esp. in the United States.... (OED definition of "generation," section 6b., emphasis added)b

In the United States, among demographers and other social scientists, the term "first generation" is used to refer to foreign-born residents (excluding those born abroad of U.S. parents).[1] The Japanese use the term "nisei", which indicates the number two, but still refers to this American definition of "first generation".[2]

There is not a universal consensus on which of these meanings is always implied.[citation needed]

1.5 generation[edit]

The term 1.5 generation or 1.5G refers to people who immigrate to a new country before or during their early teens. They earn the label the "1.5 generation" because they bring with them characteristics from their home country but continue their assimilation and socialization in the new country, thus being "halfway" between the 1st generation and the 2nd generation. Their identity is thus a combination of new and old culture and tradition. Sociologist Ruben Rumbaut was among the first to use the term to examine outcomes among those arriving in the United States before adolescence.[3]

Depending on the age of immigration, the community into which they settle, extent of education in their native country, and other factors, 1.5 generation individuals will identify with their countries of origin to varying degrees. However, their identification will be affected by their experiences growing up in the new country. 1.5G individuals are often bilingual and find it easier to be assimilated into the local culture and society than people who immigrated as adults.

Many 1.5 generation individuals are bi-cultural, combining both cultures - culture from the country of origin with the culture of the new country.

1.75 Generation Immigrant[edit]

The term 1.75 generation mainly refers to people who immigrated to a host country from 0-5 years of age. People who fall under "1.5 generation immigrants" tend to be 6-12 years of age when they moved from their home country. In the United States, Asians are the least likely to fall under this group, and only around 4.5% of Asian immigrants belong to the "1.75 generation".

Second-generation immigrant[edit]

The term "second-generation immigrant" extends the concept of first-generation by one generation. As such, the term exhibits the same type of ambiguity as "first-generation," as well as additional ones.

Like "first-generation immigrant," the term "second-generation immigrant" can refer to a member of either:

  • the second generation of a family to inhabit, but the first to be naturally born in, a country, or
  • the second generation to be naturally born in a country.

In the United States, among demographers and other social scientists, the term "second generation" is used to refer to the U.S.-born children of foreign-born parents.[4]

The term second-generation immigrant has attracted criticism due to a perceived self-contradiction. Namely, critics say, a "second-generation immigrant" is not an immigrant, as being "second-generation" implies that the person's parents are the immigrants in question. Generation labeling of immigrants is further complicated by the fact that immigrant generations may not correspond to the genealogical generations of a family. For instance, if a family of two parents and their two adult children immigrate to a new country, members in both generations of this family may be considered "first generation" by the former definition, as both parents and children were foreign-born, adult, immigrants. Likewise, if the two parents had a third child later on, this child would be of a different immigrant generation from that of its siblings. For every generation, the factor of mixed-generation marriages further convolutes the issue, as a person may have immigrants at several different levels of his/her ancestry.

These ambiguities notwithstanding, generation labeling is frequently used in parlance, news articles [1], and reference articles without deliberate clarification of birthplace or naturalization. It may or may not be possible to determine, from context, which meaning is intended.

The Japanese use the term "sansei", which indicates the number three, but still refers to this American definition of "second generation".[5]

2.5 generation[edit]

When demographers and other social scientists in the United States use the term "second generation," they usually refer to people with at least one foreign-born parent. Some researchers have begun to question whether those with one native-born parent and those with no native-born parents should be lumped together, with evidence suggesting that there are significant differences in outcomes between the two groups.[6][7]

In the United States[edit]

  1. First generation immigrant : immigrant youth who migrated to the U.S.
  2. Second generation immigrant: U.S.-born children of at least one foreign-born parent.
  3. Third generation immigrant : U.S.-born children of two U.S.-born parents, where at least one grandparent is foreign-born.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Nation's Foreign-Born Population Nears 37 Million". Press Release. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  2. ^ Hersey, John; Manzanar; p 69; ISBN 0812917278
  3. ^ Rojas, Leslie Berenstein. "Introducing the cultural mashup dictionary: Our first term, 1.5 generation". Article. Southern California Public Radio. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "Nation's Foreign-Born Population Nears 37 Million". Press Release. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  5. ^ Hersey, John; Manzanar; p 69; ISBN 0812917278
  6. ^ Ramakrishnan, S. Karthick (2004). "Second‐Generation Immigrants? The "2.5 Generation" in the United States". Social Science Quarterly 85 (2): 380–399. doi:10.1111/j.0038-4941.2004.08502013.x. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  7. ^ Acevedo-Garcia, Dolores; Jocelyn Pan, Hee-Jin Jun, Theresa L. Osypuk and Karen M. Emmons (2005). "The effect of immigrant generation on smoking". Social Science & Medicine 61 (6): 1223–1242. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.01.027. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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