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Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study (CILS)




Portes, A., & Rumbaut, R. G. (2020, August 7). Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study (CILS).


CILS is a longitudinal study designed to study the adaptation process of the immigrant second generation, which is defined broadly as U.S.-born children with at least one foreign-born parent or child born abroad but brought at an early age to the United States. Immigrant families, children's own demographic characteristics, language use, self-identities, and academic attainment were key objectives. Questions about religion were asked only once, in Survey Wave 3 (variables V439 through V440).

The ARDA has added four additional variables to the original data set to enhance the users' experience on our site.

Data File

Cases: 5262
Variables: 664
Weight Variable: None

Data Collection


Original Survey (Instrument)

CILS123P Surveys

Funded By

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, National Science Foundation, Spencer Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation

Collection Procedures

The first survey was administered in 1992 to second-generation children in both private and public schools in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale and San Diego. A follow-up survey was conducted three years later. Both of these surveys were self-administered questionnaires completed in school. The parental survey was conducted along with this follow-up survey. These parental surveys were conducted in face-to-face interviews and translated into six foreign languages for those who did not understand English well. The third follow-up survey was conducted when respondents had reached the average age of 24, and it was administered via mailed questionnaires, telephone and in-person interviews.

Sampling Procedures

The original survey was conducted in 1991 and 1992 with 5,262 second-generation children attending the 8th and 9th grades in public and private schools in the metropolitan areas of Miami/Ft. Lauderdale in Florida and San Diego, CA. Respondents came from 77 different nationalities, although the sample reflects the most sizable immigrant nationalities in each area. Thus, the largest concentrations include Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and West Indians in South Florida; and Mexicans, Filipinos, Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians in California. The sample is evenly divided by sex, year in school (8th, 9th) and birth status (foreign-born/U.S.-born). Fifty-four percent of the interviews were conducted in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale and 46 percent in San Diego.

The first follow-up and the parental survey were completed in 1995 and 1996, when most of the sample was in the last year of secondary school, and the second follow-up was carried out from 2001 to 2003, when the average age of the respondents was 24, thus capturing socioeconomic inequalities emerging with their school-to-work transitions. The first follow-up survey had an 81.5 retention rate. Researchers established that this follow-up sample is not statistically biased, but there is some over-representation of children from higher-status families. The parental survey was based on a random sample of half of the universe of parents. The second follow-up had a response rate of 69 percent of the original sample and 84 percent of the first follow-up. Researchers report some sampling bias in the second follow up, and necessary correction procedures are explained in Portes, Alejandro and R. G. Rumbaut (co-editors). 2005. The Second Generation in Early Adulthood. Special issue of Ethnic and Racial Studies 28 (November).

Principal Investigators

Alejandro Portes, Rubén G. Rumbaut

Related Publications

Fernandez-Kelly, Patricia and Lisa Konczal. 2005. "Murdering the Alphabet: Identity and Entrepreneurship among Second Generation Cubans, West Indians, and Central Americans." Ethnic and Racial Studies 28 (November): 1153-1181.

Portes, Alejandro and R. G. Rumbaut (co-editors). 2005. The Second Generation in Early Adulthood. Special issue of Ethnic and Racial Studies 28 (November).

Ports, Alejandro, Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, and William Haller. "Segmented Assimilation on the Ground: The New Second Generation in Early Adulthood." Ethnic and Racial Studies 28 (November): 1000-1040.

Rumbaut, Ruben G. 2005. "Turning Points in the Transition to Adulthood: Determinants of Educational Attainment, Incarceration, and Early Childbearing among Children of Immigrants." Ethnic and Racial Studies (November): 1041-1086.

Portes, Alejandro and Lingxin Hao. "The Schooling of Children of Immigrants: Contextual Effects on the Educational Attainment of the Second Generation." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 101 (August): 11920-11927.

Spanish Translation: MIGRACIONES (Spain) 17 (2005): 7-44.

Rumbaut, Ruben G. 2004. "Ages, Life Stages, and Generational Cohorts: Decomposing the Immigrant First and Second Generations in the United States." International Migration Review 38 (Fall): 1160-1205.

Fernandez-Kelly, Patricia and Sara Curran. 2001. "Nicaraguans: Voices Lost, Voices Found." Pp. 127-155 in R. G. Rumbaut and A. Portes (eds.), Ethnicities: Children of Immigrants in America. Berkeley: University of California Press and Russell Sage Foundation.

Portes, Alejandro and Ruben G. Rumbaut. 2001. Legacies: The Story of the Immigrant Second Generation. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press and Russell Sage Foundation.

Rumbaut, Ruben G. and Alejandro Portes. 2001. Ethnicities: Children of Immigrants in America. Berkeley: University of California Press and Russell Sage Foundation.

Zhou, Min. 2001. "Straddling Different Worlds: The Acculturation of Vietnamese Refugee Children." Pp. 187-227 in R. G. Rumbaut and A. Portes (eds.), Ethnicities: Children of Immigrants in America. Berkeley: University of California Press and Russell Sage Foundation.

Portes, Alejandro and Dag MacLeod. 1999. "Educating the Second Generation: Determinants of Academic Achievement among Children of Immigrants in the United States." Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 25 (July): 373-396.

Portes, Alejandro and Lingxin Hao. 1998. "E Pluribus Unum: Bilingualism and Loss of Language in the Second Generation." Sociology of Education 71 (October): 269-294.

Zhou, Min. 1997. "Growing up American: The Challenge Confronting Immigrant Children and Children of Immigrants." Annual Review of Sociology 23: 63-95.

Portes, Alejandro and Dag MacLeod. 1996. "Educational Progress of Children of Immigrants: The Roles of Class, Ethnicity, and School Context." Sociology of Education 69 (October): 255- 275.

Portes Alejandro and Dag MacLeod. 1996. "What Shall I Call Myself? Hispanic Identity Formation in the Second Generation." Ethnic and Racial Studies 19 (July): 523-547.

Portes, Alejandro. 1995. "Children of Immigrants: Segmented Assimilation and its Determinants." Pp. 248-280 in A. Portes (ed.) The Economic Sociology of Immigration. New York: Russell Sage.

Portes, Alejandro. 1994. (Editor.) The New Second Generation. Special Issue of International Migration Review Vol. 28 (Winter).

Rumbaut, Ruben G. 1994. "The Crucible Within: Ethnic Identity, Self-Esteem, and Segmented Assimilation among Children of Immigrants." International Migration Review 28: 748-94.

Portes, Alejandro and Min Zhou. 1993. "The New Second Generation: Segmented Assimilation and its Variants." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences 530 (November): 74-96.

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