Does proficiency in host-country language affect immigrant social outcomes? This paper aims to address this question by estimating the causal effects of English language skills on education, health and fertility outcomes of immigrants in England and Wales. We construct an instrument for language skills using age at arrival in the United Kingdom, exploiting the phenomenon that young children learn languages more easily than older children. Using a unique individual-level dataset that links the 2011 Census data to life event records, we find that better English language skills significantly improve educational attainment and adult health, and affect fertility behaviour, but do not affect child health. Supplementary analysis suggests that a higher educational attainment as a result of better English language skills is a possibly important channel though which English proficiency affects immigrant health.
- Language Skills