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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 Texas. Using the latest Census Bureau data from 2010 and 2011, the study reveals Texas’ immigrant population as one of the largest, fastest growing and poorest of the top immigrant receiving states.
The report is online at http://cis.org/2012-profile-of-americas-foreign-born-population.
Texas’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) grew 43 percent from 2000 to 2010. Nationally the immigrant population grew 28 percent over the same period.
The immigrant population in the state stood at 4.1 million, up 1.5 million in the last decade. Immigrants account for one out of six Texas residents in 2010, the highest level ever recorded by the Census Bureau. Immigrants account for 20 percent of workers in the state.
Of Texas immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18), 28 percent live in poverty compared to 15 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 36 percent of all persons in poverty.
Of Texas immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18) 41 percent lack health insurance, compared to 21 percent of natives and their children. Immigrants and their children account for 37 percent of those without insurance in the state.
While a large share of Texas immigrants have low incomes, their rate of home ownership (58 percent) tends to be relatively high both compared to natives (65 percent) and relative to immigrants in other states.
Of households headed by immigrants in Texas, 45 percent used at least one major welfare program, primarily food assistance and Medicaid, compared to 24 percent of native-headed households.
The lower socio-economic status of Texas’ immigrants is not because most are recent arrivals. Their average length of residence in the United States is 18 years.
One of the primary reasons so many immigrants in Texas are poor, lack health insurance and access the welfare system is a large share arrive in the U.S. as adults with relatively low levels of education.
Of the top immigrant receiving states, Texas immigrants are among the least educated— 46 percent of adult immigrants in the state have not completed high school, compared to 10 percent of natives.
The share of immigrants (25 to 65) in the state that have a bachelor’s degree is 21 percent compared to 30 percent of natives. In 2010, 31 percent of students in Texas public school were from immigrant households. Overall 37 percent of public school students speak a language other than English at home.
Our best estimate is that slightly less than half of the immigrants in Texas are in the country illegally. They comprised one in ten workers in the state. Illegal immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18) account for ten percent of the state’s overall population and one-fifth of those in poverty, one-fourth of the uninsured and one seventh of the school age population, 5 to 17.