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Hispanic Children: The Rise of the Second Generation

Press Release
May 27, 2009
For Immediate Release

Daniel Dockterman
Paul Fucito

Hispanic Children: The Rise of the Second Generation

WHAT: Hispanics now make up more than one-in-five of all children in the United States and as their numbers have grown, their demographic profile has changed.

More than half of the nation's 16 million Hispanic children are now "second generation," meaning they are the U.S.-born sons or daughters of at least one foreign-born parent, typically someone who came to this country in the immigration wave from Mexico, Central America and South America that began around 1980. In 1980, far fewer Hispanic children were second generation, while a significant majority were the U.S.-born sons or daughters of U.S.-born parents.

Shifts in the generational status of Hispanic children matter because analysis of the most recent Census data indicates that many social, economic and demographic characteristics of Latino children vary sharply by their generational status. Indicators of the socioeconomic status of Hispanic children of U.S.-born parents are higher than for Hispanic children of immigrant parents, but health-based and other indicators suggest Hispanic children in immigrant families fare better in some dimensions.

Another characteristic that separates Latino children along generational lines is their legal status. Building on earlier research, the Pew Hispanic Center estimates that fewer than one-in-ten of all Hispanic children are unauthorized immigrants. However, a greater share of Hispanic children have one or more unauthorized parents.

Pew Hispanic Center population projections indicate that the generational composition of Hispanic children will change yet again between now and 2025. The share of Hispanic children who are second generation is projected to soon peak and the share of Hispanic children who are third generation or higher will begin to rise.

WHEN: The report will be posted online Thursday, May 28 at 9:00A.M. on www.pewhispanic.org. To request an embargoed copy of the report, please contact Daniel Dockterman at info@pewhispanic.org or Paul Fucito at pfucito@pewresearch.org, stating that you agree to the terms of the embargo (no publication or distribution until 9:00a.m., Thursday, May 28).

Founded in 2001, the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center, is a nonpartisan research organization that seeks to improve understanding of the U.S. Hispanic population and to chronicle Latinos' growing impact on the nation. The Center does not take positions on policy issues. It is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, a public charity based in Philadelphia.


Pew Hispanic Center | 1615 L Street, NW, Suite 700 | Washington | DC | 20036


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