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State English-only policies and English-language investments

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Many states in the US have considered adopting 'English-only' legislation since the early 1980s. This paper argues that this legislation has a variety of expected and unexpected outcomes. Using the 1980 and 1990 Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS), this study finds that Asian immigrants in general and Hispanic immigrants who arrived to the US prior to 1970 acquired more English fluency on average during the 1980s when residing in states that passed English-only (EO) legislation compared to their similar peers. The passage of such legislation also appears to have distorted residence decisions as well as the relative quality of immigrants between EO and non-EO states.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2002-05-10

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