Kids in Immigrant Families are Increasingly Likely to Have Parents Who Earned High School Diplomas

Posted July 19, 2019, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Children whose parents all have less than a high school degree by family nativity in the United States

Com­pared to their peers in native-born fam­i­lies, chil­dren in immi­grant fam­i­lies are more like­ly to have par­ents whose edu­ca­tion­al careers have stopped short of a high school diplo­ma. How­ev­er, this sta­tis­tic has trend­ed in the right direc­tion since before the Great Reces­sion. In 2008, 27% of chil­dren in immi­grant fam­i­lies had par­ents who did not fin­ish high school. By 2017, this sta­tis­tic had dropped to around 21%.

Anoth­er pos­i­tive: The gap between the two fam­i­ly groups is decreas­ing. In 2008, the share of kids whose par­ents lacked a high school diplo­ma was 27% in immi­grant fam­i­lies ver­sus 7% per­cent in native-born fam­i­lies. By 2017, this divide had nar­rowed to 21% of kids in immi­grant fam­i­lies and 6% of kids in native-born families.

Con­di­tions var­ied across the states.

Among states where the pop­u­la­tion of chil­dren in immi­grant fam­i­lies was large enough to report data, kids in Nebras­ka (37%) and Arkansas (36%) were most like­ly to have par­ents who had no high school edu­ca­tion. Chil­dren in Hawaii (7%), New Hamp­shire (8%) and Wyoming (8%) were the least like­ly to have par­ents who fit into this category.

This KIDS COUNT Data Cen­ter indi­ca­tor cov­ers both par­ents in each mar­ried-cou­ple fam­i­ly or sub­fam­i­ly and the res­i­dent par­ent only for each sin­gle-par­ent fam­i­ly or subfamily.

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