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Achievements of First-Generation Hmong Youth: Findings from the Youth Development Study.

Swartz, Teresa, Jennifer C. Lee, and Jeylan T. Mortimer

St. Paul is home to the largest urban Hmong population in the United States. The first generation of Hmong immigrant children have come of age in this country, passing through American schools, beginning their work life, and starting their own families. The Youth Development Studyラan ongoing longitudinal study of youth development started in 1987 that focuses on education, work, family, and mental healthラis the basis for this article, which explores how these young Hmong people are faring as they embark on their adult lives. The authors found that although Hmong refugees came to the United States with few economic resources and faced significant cultural and linguistic barriers, the combination of family, community, institutional, and public social supports have promoted the academic achievement of Hmong children. With respect to labor force participation, the authors found that a lower proportion of Hmong respondents participated in the labor force both before and after high school. To some degree, they attribute this to the Hmong emphasis on eduation and parental restrictions on adolescent work. Finally, the authors found that Hmong adolescence and the transition to adulthood take distinct forms than for other ethnic groups. Early marriage and teen childbearing have not had the same negative educational consequences for Hmong young women as they have for non-Hmong young people.

CURA Reporter
Publication date: 
Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, University of Minnesota.
Supported by grants from CURA's Fachlty Interactive Research Program.
33 (1): 15-21.
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CURA call number: 
Reporter 33 (1)