More Than Half of Kids in Immigrant Families Lived in Low-Income Households in 2016

Posted March 8, 2018, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Hispanic mother and daughter. More than half of kids in immigrant families grow up in low-income households.

Com­pared to kids in U.S.-born fam­i­lies, kids in immi­grant fam­i­lies are more like­ly to grow up in low-income house­holds. They are also more like­ly to have par­ents who work full-time year-round.

In 2016, 51% of kids in immi­grant fam­i­lies and 38% of kids in U.S.-born fam­i­lies lived in low-income house­holds. The medi­an fam­i­ly income between the two groups also var­ied, with kids in immi­grant fam­i­lies grow­ing up in house­holds earn­ing $13,700 less.

Two obsta­cles — lim­i­ta­tions in edu­ca­tion and lan­guage — could be block­ing par­ents in immi­grant fam­i­lies from access­ing bet­ter pay­ing jobs. Among chil­dren in these families:

  • 55% lived with a par­ent who had dif­fi­cul­ty speak­ing Eng­lish; and
  • 23% lived in a house­hold where both par­ents had less than a high school degree.

Near­ly all (96%) of kids in immi­grant fam­i­lies live with par­ents who have con­tributed to the nation’s econ­o­my for more than five years. Sup­port­ing these fam­i­lies — and ensur­ing that they have access to qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion, train­ing and lan­guage learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties — can help immi­grant par­ents boost both their house­hold earn­ings and their con­tri­bu­tions to the nation’s economy.

Access more eco­nom­ic and edu­ca­tion data by fam­i­ly nativ­i­ty on the KIDS COUNT Data Center:

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