October 23, 2016
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New Stats Released On NY Immigrants

 WASHINGTON - Immigrants in New York, including Latino foreign born, have English proficiency rates that exceed the national average, regardless of when they came to the United States, according to a report released today by the Center for American Progress.

Moreover, more than two-thirds of immigrants who arrived before 1990 have become citizens, a rate higher than the national average.

The findings are contained in the report, “Assimilation Today: New Evidence Shows the Latest Immigrants to America Are Following in Our History’s Footsteps,” by Dowell Myers and John Pitkin of the University of Southern California’s Population Dynamics Research Group. The basic research was supported by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation to the USC team.

Among the key findings in New York:

  • Immigrants make up 22 percent of New York’s population, above the national average of 12.5 percent.
  • New York’s immigrants—including Latino foreign born—speak only English or speak English well, far above the national average for immigrants. Among Latino immigrants, for example, 65.3 percent are English proficient, 8.5 percent more than for Hispanic immigrants across the United States.
  • Citizenship rates for New York immigrants who arrived after 1990 are higher than the national average.
  • Among New York’s Latino immigrants who have been here between 18 and 27 years, 63 percent have earnings above low-income levels, more than two points above the national average for Latino foreign born.

Immigrants across the United States are assimilating at high rates, most notably in the areas of areas of homeownership and citizenship in the first 18 years of residency, and show high rates of advancement the longer they live here. Nationally, assimilation by all foreign born can be seen in the rising rates of earnings and high school completions. Children of Latino immigrants are more likely than their parents to have B.A. degrees, higher paying occupations, be living in households above the poverty line, and own homes.

The study refutes claims from immigration opponents who question immigrants’ contributions to U.S. society and economy, and shows robust integration by newcomers since 1990, regardless of their social or economic starting points.

“These findings affirm America’s history. Immigrants are not static in their assimilation. Despite claims to the contrary, history is repeating itself and today’s newcomers are becoming tomorrow’s new Americans,” said Angela M. Kelley, Vice President for Immigration Policy and Advocacy at the Center for American Progress.

Many Americans believe immigrants are, like Peter Pan, forever frozen and never advance economically or socially, but “the data on immigrant advancement may be surprising and should help dispel the illogical Peter Pan fallacy,” write the authors.

The report uses key benchmarks such as naturalization to citizenship, homeownership, and earnings to measure assimilation. The assimilation rates can be found here.


The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

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