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Pursuit of university education among the children of immigrants in Canada: the roles of parental human capital and social capital

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Using the 2002 Ethnic Diversity Survey, this article examines the roles of parental human capital and social capital in the pursuit of university education among immigrant youth in Canada. We find segmented patterns across the largest minority groups in Canada, with the Chinese and the south Asians, such as Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, obtaining the highest levels of education, while Blacks show the lowest rate of university education. Our study highlights the need to go beyond human capital models by assessing the benefits of and downsides to social capital. Minority language retention at home is beneficial for post-secondary education while language usage with friends outside the minority community entails the need to be proficient in one of the official languages of Canada, English or French. Having a strong sense of trust is crucial for the pursuit of university education, especially for Blacks. Our findings underscore the importance of examining what forms of social capital are unique to each minority group and the various ways these different forms of social capital are utilised in achieving success in the educational sphere.
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Keywords: education; immigrant youth; integration; race ethnicity; second generation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Sociology, Social Science Centre, Floor 5, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada 2: Sociology, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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