Friday, March 27, 2009

2007 ACS Data Tool: Language and Education Characteristics

2007 ACS Data Tool: Language and Education Characteristics

Learn about the language and education characteristics of immigrants and the native born in each state and the United States overall with our updated fact sheets. Simply go to the 2007 ACS/Census tool, select a state, and then choose the "Language and Education Characteristics" fact sheet.

The remaining two fact sheets on the foreign born — covering workforce and income & poverty — will also be updated with 2007 American Community Survey data in the coming months.

The Language and Education Characteristics fact sheets will allow you to find out the following quick stats about immigrants (i.e., persons with no US citizenship at birth; aka the foreign born):

* In 2007, 52.4 percent of the 37.8 million immigrants age 5 and older in the United States were limited English proficient (LEP), which is defined as persons age 5 and older who reported speaking English "not at all," "not well," or "well." Nearly two-thirds of all foreign born who were LEP in 2007 resided in California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois.

* The foreign-born LEP population grew more than 70 percent between 2000 and 2007 in Alabama, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Tennessee. In comparison, the size of the national immigrant LEP population increased 26.3 percent during the same period.

* Naturalized US citizens were much less likely to be limited English proficient than noncitizens, 38.8 percent compared to 62.6 percent.

* Immigrant adults age 25 and older performed similarly to their native-born counterparts when compared by higher education rate. Among immigrant adults, 26.9 percent had a bachelor's degree or higher compared to 27.6 percent for the native born. In contrast, the share of adults with less than a high school diploma was much higher among the foreign born (32.0 percent) than among the native born (12 ..4 percent).

* Foreign-born adults in the District of Columbia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Vermont were significantly more educated (42 percent or more had at least a bachelor's degree) than foreign-born adults in the rest of the nation. In contrast,=2 0nearly half of the foreign-born adults in New Mexico had no high school diploma.

* From the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy:
Nearly one in seven US adults lacked basic English reading skills, translating into more than 30 million adults who had difficulties reading simple English phrases and using written materials such as newspapers.

For more information, go to the 2007 ACS/Census tool and select the desired state.


Since the 1960s, the number of immigrants in the United States has more than tripled. In 2007, 38.1 million immigrants lived in the country, representing about 12.6 percent of the entire population. In terms of absolute numbers, this number is at its highest point in history. However, this percentage remains below the historic highs reached in 1890 and 1910, when nearly 15 percent of the US population was foreign born. Find out more about immigration patterns and characteristics of the foreign-born population through time with our US Historical Trends Tool.

Immigrants and the Current Economic Crisis [pdf]

By Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Aaron Terrazas

As the United States sinks into a recession that may be the worst since the Great Depression, the economic crisis raises fundamental questions about future immigration flows to and from the United States and how current and prospective immigrants will fare. This report examines how the number of immigrants has changed since the recession began; how legal and illegal immigration flows may change; and how immigrants fare in the labor market during downturns.

Migration and the Economic Downturn: What to Expect in the European Union [pdf]
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Madeleine Sumption, and Will Somerville
As unemployment rises and household budgets shrink across the European Union, policymakers, analysts, and the public are beginning to ask what the consequences will be with respect to immigration. In this paper, the authors make clear that the implications of the recession should not be underestimated. The downturn is likely to affect th e kinds of immigrants that arrive and leave, with implications for labor supply in certain sectors, for integration, and for the host communities.

On behalf of the MPI Data Hub team, thank you for your interest in and support of the MPI Data Hub.

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