Though we want to believe Hispanics are on the old European path to economic assimilation, the evidence does not support our desires. This fact becomes more undeniable with each new data set collected and each new analysis performed, but prominent commentators are still seduced by wishful thinking.(Jason Richwine: Latino immigrants are not on path to economic parity, Thursday, October 1, 2009. Links in original. Hispanic stall presaged by VDARE.COM here).
Earlier this week, for example, columnist Linda Chavez, in a piece published in Viewpoints, reiterated her belief that Hispanics are just like other immigrant groups and that their economic progress leaves little to worry about. She is wrong...
The Hispanic first generation is quite poor, on average, with adult men earning little more than half the annual income earned by white natives. Though still relatively poor, second-generation men make considerable progress, increasing their average income to around 80 percent of the white average.
If we were to end the analysis here, we might conclude that Hispanics are right on track toward economic assimilation. The problem is that assimilation promptly stalls with the second generation. The Hispanic third generation makes no further progress and remains significantly poorer than white natives.
The same story is true for education. Though much better educated than their immigrant parents, the Hispanic second generation drops out of high school at more than twice the white rate and graduates from college at less than 60 percent of the white rate. The third generation does no better.
These facts are not in dispute. They can be confirmed by examining any major dataset that separates the second and third Hispanic generations. So how can some observers still be so optimistic?
Often they highlight the progress between the first and second generations without looking at the third. Other times they focus on side issues and factoids without considering the big picture.
Chavez falls into the latter category with her recent column.
We (or at any rate I) worry about Linda Chavez too. Back in 2001, we were even sorry she was dropped by Dubya as Secretary of Labor because of a (guess what) illegal alien servant scandal. She's so charming and reasonable in personal conversation and so useless in print. I presume her stuff is no longer ghosted by the appalling John J. Miller (whom we seem to have scared out of the immigration debate). But given Miller's standard of veracity, you never know.