This report concludes that immigrant groups can close economic gaps between them and native-born populations with reliable, trustable access to education, transportation, English language acquisition and citizenship. It is part of a series produced by the Urban Institute based on neighborhood-level surveys of residents living in the Foundation’s Making Connections initiative sites

August 14, 2007

In This Report, You’ll Learn

  1. 1

    Federally funded programs of assistance to Southeast Asian refugees could serve as a model for all families living in low-income neighborhoods.

  2. 2

    A driver’s license and access to a reliable car was fundamental to earnings and income for both foreign-born and U.S.-born populations in the Making Connections neighborhoods.

  3. 3

    Even in tough neighborhoods, the ability of foreign-born and native-born low-income minority groups to participate in the economic mainstream is high if they are connected to reliable services and supports.

Key Takeaway

A lack of education could hold immigrants back economically

Studies show that human capital--usually measured by formal schooling--has a great influence on wages, job quality and other measures of economic advancement. 

In 2002-04, foreign-born survey respondents in the Making Connections neighborhoods from Mexico and Central America were less likely to have a high school education compared to U.S.-born white, black, Asian and Hispanic respondents. 

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations