Children of Immigrants: 2008 State Trends Update

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The number of children, ages 0 to 17, in the United States with immigrant parents increased to 16.5 million in 2008 from 8.3 million in 1990, and the children of immigrants accounted for more than three quarters of the overall increase in the number of children from 1990 to 2007, according to this new report. The current report summarized information about children of immigrants based on 2007 and 2008 data, updating an earlier report based on 2005 and 2006 data.

More than half of immigrant children – 56 percent – are Hispanic, but a diverse array of countries is represented in the immigrant population: Europe, Canada and Australia account for 11 percent of immigrant children; 22 percent are from Asia and 8 percent are from Africa or the West Indies.  

Though the majority of immigrants still reside in six states with traditionally large immigrant populations – California, New York, Texas, Florida, Illinois and New Jersey – immigrants are moving into other areas. Twenty-two of these “new-growth” states, in all geographic areas except New England, have seen an increase in their immigrant populations.

Parental education levels differ depending on the country of origin. The new data show that 26 percent of immigrant children have parents who do not have high school degrees, compared with 7 percent of native-born children. English language learning is high among immigrant parents, however, with 61 percent of immigrant parents participating in an ELL program – compared with 18 percent of immigrant children.

The study also notes that almost half of all immigrant children (49 percent) live in low-income families – compared with about 35 percent of native-born children.

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