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Immigrant Aspirations

Alejandro Portes, Samuel A. McLeod, Jr. and Robert N. Parker
Sociology of Education
Vol. 51, No. 4 (Oct., 1978), pp. 241-260
DOI: 10.2307/2112363
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2112363
Page Count: 20
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Immigrant Aspirations
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Abstract

In this paper we examine the nature and determinants of occupational, income, and educational aspirations among samples of recent Mexican and Cuban immigrants to the United States. Data came from original surveys conducted at the moment immigrants arrived in the United States in 1973. We compare their aspirations with actual attainments of their respective national origins population and with the U. S. labor force. Then, we test two competing hypotheses on the origins of aspirations: rationality and motivational needs. Immigrant aspirations are found to be generally modest. Despite many specific differences between the samples, results converge in supporting the hypothesis that aspirations are set through a rational assessment of past attainments and skills. Canonical results suggest a common causal process for all three status aspirations in both samples. Implications of these findings as they bear on the notion of "dreams of fantasy" among new arrivals to the United States and on the future situation of these immigrant minorities are discussed.

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