Posted on August 13, 2009

How African American Is the Net Black Advantage? Differences in College Attendance Among Immigrant Blacks, Native Blacks, and Whites

Pamela R. Bennett and Amy Lutz, Sociology of Education, Volume 82, Number 1, January 2009, pp. 70-99(30)


Previous research has shown that although a smaller proportion of black high school graduates than white high school graduates attend college, black high school graduates are more likely than white high school graduates to attend college net of differences in socioeconomic family background and academic performance. Yet, the overrepresentation of black immigrants in selective colleges and theoretical work on immigrant incorporation raises the question of whether this net black advantage is very African American. Using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, logistic regression, and propensity score analysis, the authors investigated whether the net black advantage reflects the educational trajectories of immigrant rather than native blacks. They found dual, yet distinct, cases of the net black advantage, such that native blacks are more likely than are comparable whites to attend all types of colleges, whereas immigrant blacks are only more likely than similar whites to attend selective colleges. The theoretical and social stratification implications of the findings are explored.

[Editor’s Note: The complete text of “How African American Is the Net Black Advantage?” is available here. There is a charge.]