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

Posted July 19, 2019
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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