German American Bilingualism: cui malo? Mother Tongue and Socioeconomic Status among the Second Generation in 1940 Academic Article uri icon


  • This study utilizes language data from the 1940 US Census Public Use Sample to measure the socioeconomic impact of foreign mother tongue by comparing second-generation Germans who grew up speaking German and English respectively. The most striking contrast between the two groups was the much higher proportion of German speakers in the farm population. While Germanophones showed slightly lower levels of income, this was balanced by greater social stability. In fact, German speakers showed higher levels of homeownership and self-employment. As a whole, the disadvantages of a foreign mother tongue proved to be relatively minor, indeed negligible for this group. -Author

published proceedings

  • International Migration Review

author list (cited authors)

  • Kamphoefner, W. D.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Kamphoefner, Walter D

publication date

  • January 1994