Download & Other Tools
- Definition: Estimated percentage of the population that is foreign-born, by age group (e.g., in 2009-11, 7.6% of California children ages 5-17 were born outside the U.S.). The foreign-born population includes naturalized U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, temporary migrants, humanitarian migrants, and unauthorized migrants.
- Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey. Accessed at http://factfinder2.census.gov (Dec. 2012).
- Footnote: Data are displayed for geographies with at least 20,000 people based on 2011 population estimates. LNE (Low Number Event) refers to estimates that have been suppressed because the confidence interval around the percentage was greater than 10 percentage points. These estimates are based on a survey of the population and are subject to both sampling and nonsampling error. N/A means that data are not available. Some regions listed among the cities under the "Choose Counties, Cities and School Districts" menu are Census Designated Places (CDPs), such as East Los Angeles; CDPs are communities within the unincorporated part of a county.
- Bullying and Harassment at School
- Child Population
- Public School Enrollment
- Children in Rural and Urban Areas (California & U.S. Only)
- Total Population
- Family Structure
- Households with and without Children, by City, School District and County (65,000 Residents or More)
- Family Structure for Children in Households, by City, School District and County (65,000 Residents or More)
- Children in the Care of Grandparents, by City, School District and County (65,000 Residents or More)
- Children Living with One or More Foreign-Born Parent (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More)
- Children Living with One or More Foreign-Born Parent (Regions of 20,000 Residents or More)
- Children Living with One or More Foreign-Born Parent (Regions of 10,000 Residents or More)
- Foreign-Born Population (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More), by Age Group
- Foreign-Born Population (Regions of 20,000 Residents or More), by Age Group
- Foreign-Born Population (Regions of 10,000 Residents or More), by Age Group
- English Learners
- Why This Topic Is Important
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.childtrends.org/?indicators=immigrant-children
- 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/
- How Children Are Faring
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).
- Policy Implications
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:
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.
- 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)
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
- Websites with Related Information
- Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
- Children of Immigrants Data Tool, Urban Institute
- Migration Policy Institute Data Hub
- National Center for Children In Poverty: Immigrant Families
- National Council of La Raza
- Pew Hispanic Center: Immigration
- Public Policy Institute of California: Immigration
- RAND Corporation: Migration
- Spanish-Language Health Resources Knowledge Path, Maternal and Child Health Library at Georgetown University
- Urban Institute: Immigrants
- Key Reports
- A Portrait of California, American Human Development Project of the Social Science Research Council
- America’s Future: Latino Child Well-Being in Numbers and Trends, National Council of La Raza & Population Reference Bureau
- California Speaks: Language Diversity and English Proficiency by Legislative District, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF)
- Children in Immigrant Families: Ensuring Opportunity for Every Child in America, Foundation for Child Development & First Focus
- Demographic and Socioeconomic Profiles of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum
- Ethnic Health Assessment for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in California, Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum, University of California Asian American and Pacific Islander Policy Multicampus Research Program
- Ethnic Health Assessment for Latinos in California, California Program on Access to Care at UC Berkeley School of Public Health & California Endowment
- Immigrant Children, The Future of Children
- Ten Policies to Improve Access to Quality Child Care for Children in Immigrant Families, CLASP
- The Reuniting Immigrant Families Act: A Case Study on California’s Senate Bill 1064, State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center
- Unauthorized Migrants and Their U.S. Born Children, Pew Hispanic Center
- County/Regional Reports
- Generational Future of Los Angeles: Projections to 2030 and Comparisons to Recent Decades, University of Southern California, Sol Price School of Public Policy
- L.A. Speaks: Language Diversity and English Proficiency by Los Angeles County Service Planning Area, Asian Pacific American Legal Center
- San Francisco Bay Area Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Youth Health Status Report, Asian and Pacific Islander Bay Area Health Council