On kidsdata.org, measures related to immigrant populations include the following estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey:
Percentage of the population that is foreign-born, by age group by county, city and school district (65,000 residents or more), as single-year estimates; by county, city, and school district (20,000 residents or more), as 3-year estimates; by county, city, and school district (10,000 residents or more), as 5-year estimates; and by legislative district, as 5-year estimates
Percentage of children ages 0-17 living with one or more foreign-born parents by county, city, and school district (65,000 residents or more) and income level, as single-year estimates; by county, city, and school district (20,000 residents or more) and income level, as 3-year estimates; and by county, city, and school district (10,000 residents or more), legislative district, income level, and by legislative district and income level, as 5-year estimates.
Children in immigrant families, including children who are foreign born or who live with at least one foreign-born parent, represent the fastest growing segment of the U.S. child population (1, 2). In 2010, this group accounted for 23% of all children in the United States, up from 15% in 1994 (2). This population is particularly large in California, where the proportion of foreign-born residents is the highest in the country (3).
Children in immigrant families are more likely than other children to have household incomes below the Federal Poverty Level, to have parents with low educational attainment, to live in language-isolated households, and to be in fair or poor physical health (1). It is therefore important for schools, health care systems, government and nonprofit organizations to address the needs of these children, and work to eliminate barriers to service. Also, foreign-born women tend to have a higher fertility rate than women born in the U.S., making increases in this population especially germane to providers of perinatal service and services to young children (4).
It should be noted that today’s immigrant children vary more by national origin and socioeconomic status than in previous years (5). The educational and health status of this population varies widely depending on many factors, such as the country of origin and length of time in the U.S. (6, 7).
For more information on this topic please see kidsdata.org’s Research & Links section.
Sources cited for this narrative:
- Child Trends. (2010). Immigrant children. Retrieved from: http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/?q=node/333
- Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. (2011). Children of at least one foreign-born parent. America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2011. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved from: http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren11/famsoc4.asp
- Migration Policy Institute. (2012). California: Social and demographic characteristics. MPI data hub: Migration facts, stats, and maps. Retrieved from: http://www.migrationinformation.org/datahub/acscensus.cfm#
- Grieco, E., et al. (2012). The foreign-born population in the United States: 2010. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey Reports (ACS-19). Retrieved from: http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/acs-19.pdf
- Tienda, M., & Haskins, R. (2011). Immigrant children: Introducing the issue. The Future of Children Journal, 21(1), 3-18. Retrieved from: http://www.princeton.edu/futureofchildren/publications/journals/journal_details/index.xml?journalid=74
- Baum, S., & Flores, S. M. (2011). Higher education and children in immigrant families. The Future of Children Journal, 21(1), 171-193. Retrieved from: http://www.princeton.edu/futureofchildren/publications/journals/journal_details/index.xml?journalid=74
- Burd-Sharps, S., & Lewis, K. (2011). A portrait of California: California Human Development Report 2011. The Measure of America Series, American Human Development Project of the Social Science Research Council. Retrieved from: http://www.measureofamerica.org/california/
Children of immigrants are more likely to be low-income than children of native-born parents (1). Immigrant children, particularly those in low-income households, often confront hardships in accessing health care, safety-net public benefits, and quality education (9). This can be related to linguistic and cultural challenges, lack of accurate information about services, and/or legal prohibitions on public program participation (3, 6). California offers some benefits to undocumented immigrant children that would not be available under federal law, and many county governments serve undocumented children through health insurance programs for low-income children. Budget constraints have made the sustainability of these programs difficult. Enforcement of immigration regulations also can have unintended negative consequences on children, including citizen children, such as family instability, economic hardship, and mental health problems (8).
According to research and subject experts, policies that could influence the well being of immigrant children include:
- Providing the funding and outreach to ensure that all immigrant children have health insurance (3, 4, 5)
- Ensuring linguistically and culturally appropriate health care for immigrant families (3, 6)
- Addressing the needs of English language learners in public schools (See Policy Implications under kidsdata.org’s English Learners topic)
- Ensuring that federal immigration policy and the policies of immigration courts and county child welfare agencies protect the interests of lawfully present or citizen children of immigrant parents (7)
- The Immigration Policy Center and the Center for American Progress also recommend supporting comprehensive immigration reform to ensure family stability (2)
For more policy ideas and research on this topic see kidsdata.org’s Research & Links section or visit the Urban Institute or the National Immigration Law Center. Also see Policy Implications on kidsdata.org under English Learners.
Sources for this narrative:
- Chaudry, et al. (2010). Children of immigrants: Economic well-being. Urban Institute. Retrieved from: http://www.urban.org/uploadedpdf/412270-children-of-immigrants-economic.pdf
- Hinojosa-Ojeda, R. (2010). Raising the floor for American workers: The economic benefits of comprehensive immigration reform. Center for American Progress and Immigration Policy Center. Retrieved from: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/01/raising_the_floor.html
- Ku, L. (2007). Insurance reducing disparities in health coverage for legal immigrant children and pregnant women. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Retrieved from: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=143
- Nichols, et al. (2005). Ensuring health coverage for California’s immigrant children. New America Foundation. Retrieved from: http://www.newamerica.net/files/archive/Doc_File_2685_1.pdf
- Trenholm, et al. (2007). Three independent evaluations of Healthy Kids Programs find dramatic gains in well-being of children and families. UCSF, Mathematica Policy Research, Urban Institute. Retrieved from: http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/publications/PDFs/CHIthreeindep.pdf
- Guendelman, et al. (2005). Overcoming the odds: Access to care for immigrant children in working poor families in California. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 9(4), 351-362. Retrieved from: http://www.springerlink.com/content/y3t0g64g37578283/fulltext.pdf
- Cervantes, et al. (2010). The impact of immigration enforcement on child welfare. First Focus. Retrieved from: http://www.firstfocus.net/sites/default/files/r.2010-4.7.cervantes.pdf
- Immigration Policy Center, The Urban Institute and the National Council of La Raza’s Report. (2008). Immigration enforcement and its unintended consequences. Retrieved from: http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/immigration-enforcement-and-its-unintended-consequences
- Hernandez, et al. (2011). Children in immigrant families: Ensuring opportunity for every child in America. Foundation for Child Development & First Focus. Retrieved from: http://www.fcd-us.org/resources/children-immigrant-families-ensuring-opportunity-every-child-america
According to 2011 estimates, about 50% of California children
ages 0-17 live with one or more foreign-born parents. This percentage
has been relatively steady since 2007, though figures vary widely among
California counties. For example, an estimated 63% of children in
Santa Clara County had foreign-born parents, compared to 11% in Nevada
County in 2009-11 (among counties with 20,000 residents or more).
An estimated 8% of California children ages 5-17 were born outside the U.S. in 2009-11. The figure is lower for young children ages 0-4 (2%). Among adults, the foreign-born estimate was 19% for ages 18-24 and 38% for ages 25-64. During 2007-2011, the statewide percentage of immigrant children and youth ages 0-24 slightly declined, while figures for adults over age 24 remained fairly steady. At the county level, the percentage of immigrant children ages 5-17 ranged from 11% in Santa Clara County to 0.1% in Lassen County in 2009-11 (among counties with 20,000 residents or more).