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Washington, U.S.A. — A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies provides a detailed picture of immigrants (legal and illegal) in the United States and in Georgia. Of the top immigrant receiving states, Georgia’ immigrant population is one of the fastest growing in the country. Using the latest Census Bureau data from 2010 and 2011, the study reveals a high rate of poverty with a corresponding high use of welfare.
The report is online at http://cis.org/2012-profile-of-americas-foreign-born-population.
Georgia’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) grew 63 percent from 2000 to 2010. Nationally the immigrant population grew 28 percent over the same period.
Immigrants account for 10 percent of Georgia residents in 2010, the highest level ever recorded by the Census Bureau for the state. Immigrants are 13 percent of workers in the state. Of Georgia immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18), 25 percent live in poverty compared to 18 percent of natives and their children.
Of Georgia immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18), 37 percent lack health insurance, compared to 18 percent of natives and their children (under 18). Immigrants and their children account for 22 percent of those without insurance in the state.
Georgia immigrants’ home ownership is 56 percent, compared to 67 percent for natives.
Of households headed by immigrants in Georgia, 30 percent used at least one major welfare program, primarily food assistance and Medicaid, compared to 24 percent of native-headed households. One of the primary reasons a larger share of immigrants than natives in the state are poor is a large share arrive in the U.S. as adults with relatively low levels of education.
Of adult immigrants (25 to 65) in the state 26 percent have not completed high school, compared to 8 percent of natives.
However, the share of immigrants in the state with at least a bachelor’s degree (30 percent) is similar to the 33 percent for natives.
In 2010, 17 percent of students in Georgia public schools were from immigrant households. Overall, one in seven public school students in the state speaks a language other than English at home.
Our best estimate is that more than half of the immigrants in Georgia are in the country illegally. Illegal immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18) account for seven percent of the state’s overall population, 12 percent of those in poverty, 16 percent of the uninsured and 8 percent of the school age population, 5 to 17.