Children in immigrant families are either foreign born or live with at least one foreign-born parent. This group of 18 million kids represents nearly 25% of the nation’s child population.
At the state level, immigration has played a significant role in shaping the local child population. From 1990 to 2017, 38 states plus the District of Columbia reported that their share of children in immigrant families at least doubled. In 20 states, it at least tripled. And in 12 states — led by North Carolina, Tennessee, Nebraska and Arkansas — the share of children in immigrant families at least quadrupled.
Refugees make up a small fraction of the 1.4 million immigrants who come to the United States each year. In 2016, approximately 85,000 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.
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 50% of kids living in immigrant families are low-income and approximately 25% are poor.