Immigrant Bilingualism in Spain: An Asset or a Liability?

Maria Medvedeva, Alejandro Portes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This study contributes to the ongoing debate about bilingual advantage and examines whether bilingual immigrant youths fare better, as well as, or worse academically than the matching group of monolinguals. Using data from Spain, where close to half of immigrants speak Spanish as their native language, we found no evidence of costs of bilingualism: bilingual youths did benefit from their linguistic skills. Their advantage, however, manifested itself not uniformly across discrete outcomes, but in a direct trajectory toward higher educational attainment. Bilingualism neutralized the possible negative effect of ethnic origins and extended the positive effect of high parental ambition. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)632-666
Number of pages35
JournalInternational Migration Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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