Immigration and Refugees

Children in immigrant families are either foreign born or live with at least one foreign-born parent. This group of 18 million kids represented 25% of the nation’s child population in 2022.

At the state level, immigration has played a significant role in shaping the local child population. Over the last two decades, the share of children in immigrant families increased in all but three states, and it at least doubled in 16 states.

Nationwide, the growth of the foreign-born population had slowed in recent years, rising by only about 337,000 between 2019 and 2021, but then it rose by more than 900,000 in 2022 alone, indicating that the pace may be increasing, according to Census Bureau data. Refugees make up a small fraction of the immigrants who come to the United States each year. In 2022, approximately 25,500 individuals with refugee status were admitted into the country to escape persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political viewpoint, as reported by the Migration Policy Institute.

Although high-skilled immigrants fill an important need in many industries, they also fill gaps in low-skilled, low-wage jobs, which can leave kids in immigrant families economically vulnerable. More than 40% of youth and young adults in immigrant families are low-income, and more than 25% of immigrant kids live in low-income working families.