Household Access to Resources Requiring Identification: Relations with Family Process and Child Development in Low-income Immigrant Families

Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Harvard University
Erin B. Godfrey, New York University
Ann Rivera, New York University
Catherine Tamis-LeMonda, New York University

We apply social exclusion theory to examine how experiences of being an undocumented parent affect family process and children’s development. We examine one dimension of social exclusion relevant to undocumented parents – access to institutions that ask for or provide identification. We created an index of household-level access to four resources (savings account, checking account, driver’s license, and credit card). We hypothesized that groups likely to have higher proportions of undocumented parents would report lower levels of access to these resources, and that lower access would be associated with higher hardship and distress, and lower levels of cognitive stimulation. In turn, we hypothesized that hardship, distress, and stimulation would predict children’s cognitive ability in a standardized assessment. Our hypotheses were largely supported, using three waves of prospective data from a birth cohort study of 324 low-income Mexican, Dominican, and U.S.-born African American parents and their young children in New York City.

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Presented in Session 52: Comparative Perspectives on Undocumented Workers