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Illinois, 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 Illinois. The statistics reveal Illinois’ immigrant population as being significantly poorer and less-educated than the state’s native-born population. Using the latest Census Bureau data from 2010 and 2011, the study shows a high rate of poverty with over one-third of immigrant headed households using at least one major welfare program.
The report is online at http://cis.org/2012-profile-of-americas-foreign-born-population.
Illinois’ immigrant population (legal and illegal) grew 15 percent (231,000) from 2000 to 2010. Nationally the immigrant population grew percent over the same period. Immigrants (legal and illegal) accounted for 14 percent of the state residents in 2010 and 16 percent of workers in the states. Of Illinois immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18), 22 percent live in poverty compared to 12 percent of natives and their children.
Immigrants and their U.S.-born child (under 18) account for 18 percent of the state’s overall population and 28 percent of all persons in poverty in the state. Of Illinois immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18), 27 percent lack health insurance, compared to 12 percent of natives and their children (under 18). Immigrants and their children account for 32 percent of the state’s uninsured.
Of households headed by immigrants in Illinois, 36 percent used at least one major welfare program, primarily food assistance and Medicaid, compared to 22 percent of native-headed households.
Illinois immigrants’ home ownership rate tends to be relatively high (61 percent) compared to immigrants in other states. The rate for natives in the state is 69 percent. The lower socio-economic status of Illinois’ 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 immigrants in the state tend to be poor and access welfare programs at high rates is a large share arrive in the U.S. as adult with relatively low levels of education.
Of adult immigrants (25 to 65) in the state 24 percent have not completed high school, compared to 6 percent of natives. However, the share of immigrants in the state that have a bachelor’s degree (31 percent) is much closer to the 36 percent for natives.
In 2010, 23 percent of public school students in Illinois were from immigrant households. Overall, one in four public students in the state speaks a language other than English at home.
Our best estimate is that 31 percent of Illinois 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, 13 percent those in poverty, 16 percent of the uninsured and 9 percent of the school age population.