The framework for immigrant identity development that informs this research refers to a “transcultural identity” which is most adaptive in the modern multicultural world as young people maintain their native language and respect for their family as well as interact in English and across cultures with ease. Based in a review of the literature and qualitative interviews with five adolescent African immigrants, the research question is answered: How does “transcultural” identity development inform the academic success of African immigrant youth in middle America?

A critical ethnographic research methodology situates qualitative, in-depth interviews within quantitative data about the socio-economic and demographic contexts impacting African immigrant adolescents.

It is the conclusion of this research that the resources needed to overcome impediments to successful adaptation as measured through academic success were the qualities associated with “transcultural” identities, including strong family ties, bilingual competencies, and high self-esteem.

The new knowledge created by this research is for all those concerned about the successful adaptation of today’s immigrant youth, and tomorrow’s diverse citizenry.