Where Do Trajectories Diverge? Nativity and Ethnic Differences in Home Environment and Very Early Cognitive Development

Jennifer E. Glick, Arizona State University
Littisha Scott, Arizona State University

Racial and ethnic disparities in educational attainment have their origins in differential access to resources in early childhood. This paper addresses differences in early cognitive development and asks whether differences in socioeconomic resources and parenting practices mediate the relationship among mother's nativity, language use, ethnicity and early cognitive development even before children encounter formal school settings. Analyses of the first two waves of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth cohort (ECLS-B) indicate significant racial and ethnic differences in the home environments of young children. Mother's nativity, age at arrival and home language background are also associated with more disadvantaged home environments in multivariate models. Overall, home environment plays a significant role in explaining differences in cognitive development by ethnicity and nativity by the second wave of data. Further, mother's age at arrival and parenting practices do not have the same relationship to early cognitive development in all ethnic groups.

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Presented in Session 55: Immigration and Child Development