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Children of Foreign-Born Parents

Narrative

The foreign-born population in the United States has increased substantially since the 1970s, largely due to immigration from Asia and Latin America. In 2009, 21.9 percent of children in the United States had at least one foreign-born parent. Of all children, 18.9 percent were U.S.-born with a foreign-born parent or parents, and 3.0 percent were themselves foreign-born. Most children (73.8 percent) were native-born with native-born parents.

Children’s poverty status varies with their nativity. In 2009, foreign-born children with foreign-born parents were most likely to live in poverty, with 32.7 percent living in households with incomes below 100 percent of the U.S. Census Bureau’s poverty threshold ($21,954 for a family of four in 2009). Another 29.0 percent of these children lived in households with family incomes of 100–199 percent of the poverty threshold. Native-born children with native parents were the least likely to experience poverty, with 16.4 percent living in households with incomes below 100 percent of the poverty threshold, and another 19.4 percent living in households with incomes of 100–199 percent of the poverty threshold.

A number of other sociodemographic factors vary by the nativity of children and their parents. For instance, native-born children with native parents were most likely to have health insurance in 2009 (92.8 percent), while foreign-born children with foreign-born parents were least likely (66.3 percent). Almost 87 percent of native-born children with foreign-born parents had health insurance in 2009.

Graphs

This image is described in the Data section.

children by child and parent nativity graph

This image is described in the Data section.

children by child and parent nativity and poverty graph

Data

Children Under Age 18, by Nativity of Child and Parent(s),* 2009

Percent of children:

  • Native child and parent 73.8
  • Native child, foreign-born parent 18.9
  • Foreign-born child and parent 3.0
  • Other 4.3

*“Native parent” indicates that both of the child’s parents were U.S. citizens at birth, “foreign-born parent” indicates that one or both parents were born outside of the United States, and “other” includes children with parents whose native status is unknown and foreign-born children with native parents.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division, Fertility & Family Statistics Branch. America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2009. Accessed March 2011.

Children Under Age 18, by Nativity of Child and Parent(s),* and Poverty,** 2009
Poverty Status Percent of Children
Native child and parent Native child, foreign-born parent Foreign-born child and parent
*“Native parent” indicates that both of the child’s parents were U.S. citizens at birth, “foreign-born parent” indicates that one or both parents were born outside of the United States, and “other” includes children with parents whose native status is unknown and foreign-born children with native parents.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division, Fertility & Family Statistics Branch. America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2009. Accessed March 2011.
Below 100% of poverty 16.4 23.8 32.7
100-199% of poverty 19.4 28.0 29.0
200% of poverty and above 64.1 48.2 38.3

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