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Washington, D.C., August 26, 2009 -- The most comprehensive interactive resource exploring the lives of the nation’s 16.4 million children with foreign-born parents debuts today on, the website of the Urban Institute.


The Children of Immigrants Data Tool enables users to generate detailed charts of the characteristics of children age 0 to 17 nationwide and for individual states and the District of Columbia. Statistics on 21 features include citizenship and the immigrant status (foreign vs. native-born) of children and their parents; children’s race, ethnicity, and school enrollment; parents’ education and English proficiency; and family composition, income, and work effort. The child and parents’ citizenship and immigrant status (foreign vs. native-born) can be used as reference points for comparisons.


Examples of what the new tool reveals: Twice as many native-born children of immigrants in Maryland as in California have a parent with a four-year college education (56 versus 24 percent). Nationwide, the share is 30 percent. Native-born children of immigrants are less likely than children with native-born parents to have a college-educated parent. The difference is 24 versus 35 percent in California and 30 versus 34 percent nationwide. In contrast, in Maryland, native-born children of immigrants are more likely than children of natives to have a college-educated parent (56 versus 42 percent; see chart and table).


A customized chart can present either the number or share of children with a given characteristic in the states chosen or nationally. A data table is displayed below each chart and can be downloaded in Excel.


“More than one in five children in the United States has at least one immigrant parent. The Children of Immigrants Data Tool is an essential resource for improving social policies that affect immigrant families and children,” says Urban Institute researcher Karina Fortuny.


The data tool’s debuts at the same time as a companion publication, “Children of Immigrants: National and State Characteristics,” which highlights key national data and variations across states. The report was written by Karina Fortuny, Randy Capps, Margaret Simms, and Ajay Chaudry.


The Urban Institute’s Low-Income Working Families Project produced the data tool and report with funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Initial data came from the 2005 and 2006 waves of the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The database will be updated as future ACS data become available.



The Urban Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research and educational organization that examines the social, economic, and governance challenges facing the nation.

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