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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 Florida. Florida has the fourth largest immigrant population in the country. Using the latest Census Bureau data from 2010 and 2011, the study shows Florida’s immigrants tend to be poorer than the state’s native-born.
The report is online at http://cis.org/2012-profile-of-americas-foreign-born-population.
Florida’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) grew 37 percent (1 million) from 2000 to 2010. Nationally the immigrant population grew 28 percent over the same period.
Immigrants accounted for 19 percent of Florida residents in 2010, the fourth largest share in the country. Immigrants are 22 percent of workers in the state.
Of Florida immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18), 21 percent live in poverty compared to 14 percent of natives and their children. Immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18) account for 23 percent of the state’s overall population and 31 percent of all persons in poverty.
Of households headed by immigrants in Florida, 31 percent used at least one major welfare program, primarily food assistance and Medicaid, compared to 20 percent of native-headed households.
Of Florida immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18), 34 percent lack health insurance, compared to 18 percent of natives and their children (under 18). Immigrants and their children account for 36 percent of those without insurance in the state. Florida immigrants’ home ownership rate is 61 percent, compared to 70 percent for natives.
The lower socio-economic status of Florida’s immigrants is not because most are recent arrivals. Their average length of residence in the United States is 20 years.
One of the primary reasons immigrants in the state tend to be poorer than natives 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 16 percent have not completed high school, compared to 7 percent of natives. However, the share of immigrants in the state with at least a bachelor’s degree (30 percent) is similar to that of natives — 32 percent.
In 2010, more than one in four public school students in Florida 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 slightly more than one-sixth of Florida immigrants are in the country illegally. Illegal immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18) account for 4 percent of the state’s overall population, 9 percent those in poverty, 11 percent of the uninsured and 8 percent of the school age population.