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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 New Jersey. Using the latest Census Bureau data from 2010 and 2011, the study reveals that New Jersey’s immigrants tend to be more prosperous and better-educated than the population in other top immigrant receiving states. However, they lag behind natives in the state in most measures of economic well-being. As a result they comprise a very large share of the state’s poor and uninsured.
The report is online at http://cis.org/2012-profile-of-americas-foreign-born-population.
New Jersey’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) grew 25 percent (368,000) from 2000 to 2010. Nationally the immigrant population grew 28 percent over the same period. Immigrants accounted for 21 percent of New Jersey residents in 2010, the third highest of any state. Immigrants are 28 percent of workers in the state.
Of New Jersey immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18), 13 percent live in poverty compared to 9 percent of natives and their children. Immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18) account for 28 percent of the state’s overall population and 37 percent of all persons in poverty.
Of New Jersey immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18), 29 percent lack health insurance, compared to 11 percent of natives and their children (under 18). Immigrants and their children account for 51 percent of those without insurance in the state.
New Jersey immigrants’ home ownership rate is 54 percent, compared to 70 percent for natives.
Of households headed by immigrants in New Jersey, 26 percent used at least one major welfare program, primarily food assistance and Medicaid, compared to 17 percent of native-headed households. The lower socio-economic status of New Jersey’s immigrants is not because most are recent arrivals. Their average length of residence in the United States is 19 years.
One of the primary reasons so many immigrants in the state are poor and access the welfare system 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 19 percent have not completed high school, compared to 4 percent of natives. The share of immigrants in the state with at least a bachelor’s degree is 34 percent compared to 41 percent for natives.
In 2010, 30 percent of students in New Jersey public schools were from immigrant households. Overall, 29 percent of public school students in the state speak a language other than English at home.
Our best estimate is that about one-fifth of New Jersey’s immigrants are in the country illegally. Illegal immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18) account for 6 percent of the state’s overall population, 14 percent those in poverty, 21 percent of the uninsured and 9 percent of the school age population, ages 5 to 17.