Recent studies suggest that the greater educational achievement of second generation
girls relative to boys in America rests on the maintenance of traditional gender
roles in families coming from more patriarchal societies. Children of internal migration
from southern Italy during the Sixties show a quite similar pattern. To explain how
child-rearing practices result in a gender gap in educational attainment, this essay
proposes a different perspective. Instead of focusing on cultural traditions migrant
families should have brought with them, it concentrates on social conditions created
by migration in urban neighborhoods and analyzes the consequences of migration
process in network terms. Changing city affects migrants' social networks, which need
to be rebuilt in the new place because many individual ties drop away in the move.
It is in this context that choices of migrant parents become significant. Geographical
mobility has a strong impact on family and kinship ties and on domestic economy.
The migrant family is different, but its specificity has been under-investigated by