American Sociological Association

The Influence of Foreign-born Population on Immigrant and Native-born Students’ Academic Achievement

With recent increases in international migration, some political and academic narratives argue for limiting migration because of possible negative effects on the host country. Among other outcomes, these groups argue that immigrant students have an impact on education, negatively affecting native-born students’ academic performance. The authors contextualize the relationship between immigrant status and academic achievement by considering a macro social setting: country-level foreign-born population. The authors examine achievement from the 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment in 41 high-income countries. The authors use within- and cross-level interactions to examine (1) the relationship between immigrant status and academic achievement, (2) the moderating effect of student socioeconomic status on achievement, and (3) how country-level foreign-born population affects both immigrant and native-born students’ performance. The findings indicate that immigrant students perform similarly to native-born students when considering other contextual factors, with socioeconomic status moderating the effect of immigrant status. Furthermore, all students, immigrant and nonimmigrant students alike, benefit academically from more immigration.


Florencia Silveira, Mikaela J. Dufur, Jonathan A. Jarvis, and Kristie J. Rowley





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