Asian Americans top in education and income among foreign-born immigrants
The U.S. Census Bureau estimated August 5 that the nation's foreign-born population in 2003
numbered 33.5 million, or 12 percent of the total U.S. population. Among the foreign-born
population, 53 percent were born in Latin America, 25 percent in Asia, 14 percent in Europe and
the remaining 8 percent in other regions of the world, such as Africa and Oceania. The 53 percent
from Latin America consisted of 37 percent from Central America (including Mexico), 10
percent from the Caribbean and 6 percent from South America.
Other highlights from the report:
- A plurality of foreign-born people live in the West (37 percent), while the South had the
highest proportion of native residents (37 percent).
- Forty-four percent of foreign-born people live in the central city of a metropolitan area,
compared with 27 percent of natives. The foreign-born population is comprised largely of
young adults, with 45 percent between the ages of 25 and 44, compared with 27 percent
of natives. In contrast, natives are considerably more likely than the foreign-born to be
children under 18 (28 percent versus 9 percent). Foreign-born households are larger than
those of natives: 25 percent of family households with a foreign-born householder contain
five or more people, compared with only 13 percent of those with a native householder.
- Twenty-seven percent of the foreign-born age 25 and over had a bachelor's degree or
higher education, not significantly different from the native population. Conversely, 22
percent had less than a ninth grade education, compared with 4 percent of the native
- While foreign-born people age 25 and over were less likely than natives of the same age
to have graduated from high school (67 percent versus 88 percent), there was wide
variation based on region of birth. For example, the foreign-born from Asia and Europe
had rates approaching those of natives (87 percent and 85 percent), and those from South
America had rates about double those from Central America, including Mexico (79
percent and 38 percent).
- Poverty rates in 2002 were higher for foreign-born people than for natives (17 percent
compared with 12 percent). Among the foreign-born, these rates were highest among
those from Central America (24 percent) and lowest among those from Europe (9
percent). The poverty rate of foreign-born naturalized citizens (10 percent) was closer to
that of the native population (12 percent) than that of foreign-born people who were not
U.S. citizens (21 percent).
Among foreign-born immigrants, Asians are rated high in the education, household income, and
individual earnings. In high school education or more, immigrants from Asia are accounted for
87.4, followed by Europe 84.9 percent, other regions 83.5 percent, and Latin America 49.1
percent. In household income over $50,000 or more, immigrants from Asia lead with 53.8
percent, followed by Europe 42.7 percent, othere regions 42.2 percent, and Latin America 29.0
For individual earnings over 50,000 ore more, 37.3 percent of immigrants from Asia, 35.1 from
Europe, 29.4 percent from other regions 29.4, and Latin America for 10.8 percent. However, in
the category of people living below the poverty level, Asian immigrants are accounted for 11.1
percent, as compared with 8.7 percent from Europe, 14.1 percent from other regions, and 21.6
percent from Latin America.
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