This information is important to understand why immigrant families rely so much on each other and not on education and opportunity. Hispanic-Americans are united by customs, language, religion, and values. There is, however, an extensive diversity of traits among Hispanic-Americans. One characteristic that is of paramount importance in most Hispanic cultures is family commitment, which involves loyalty, a strong support system, a belief that a child's behavior reflects on the honor of the family, a hierarchical order among siblings, and a duty to care for family members. This strong sense of other-directedness conflicts with the United States' mainstream emphasis on individualism (Vasquez, 1990). Stereotyped sex roles tend to exist among many Latinos: the male is perceived as dominant and strong, whereas the female is perceived as nurturing and self-sacrificing. Note, however, that in Latino cultures, the term "machismo" (used by Anglos to refer to male chauvinism) refers to a concept of chivalry that encompasses gallantry, courtesy, charity, and courage (Baron, 1991). Indeed, Hispanic culture's emphasis on cooperation in the attainment of goals can result in Hispanic students' discomfort with this nation's conventional classroom competition. This cultural difference could play a negative role when the value of education in the California labor market has increased substantially in recent decades and projections suggest that workers without a college education will continue to see their earnings erode. Among youth in immigrant families, there is tremendous variation in family income and parental education. Among young immigrants ages 13 to 17, about one-third of those from Mexico are living in poor families and only 17 percent have a mother who finished high school (maternal education is measured only for those living with their mothers). These differences in family characteristics contribute to racial and ethnic differences in educational attainment for immigrant youth, which, in turn, contribute to education differences for their second-generation children. Differences in family characteristics explain most of the lower educational attainment of Mexican Americans. Among Mexican American youth, parental education, parental English language ability, and family income are substantially lower than among white youth.