Second-Generation Immigrants Are Better Educated than U.S. Citizens

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There is a grave misconception about the immigrants being less educated than the U.S. citizens. According to the most recent data, the overall percentage of immigrants is approaching 14% of the U.S. population. The study by Migration Policy Institute suggests that the “majority of present-day immigrants and their descendants are making significant progress in claiming higher social status.

In the U.S. society, higher education has always been synonymous with economic success and life opportunities, better health, and family stability. The statistics collected between 2003 and 2016 by the Census Department and the Bureau of Labor suggests that U.S. immigrants are relatively well-educated.

Which Immigrant Groups Are Better Educated?

Upon studying the research data, two economists from the University of Colorado and the University of Texas —Austin have concluded there are two groups of educated immigrants. The first one contains people who arrived with high levels of education. The second one contains their U.S. born children who quickly surpassed the education level of the typical American student.

Indian immigrants are the most educated, with an average score of 16.3 years of schooling for men and 16 years for women. This means, most of them have a 4-year bachelor's degree as well as a graduate degree. Up next are Chinese immigrants who arrive with an average of 14.9 years of school for men. What is more, other Asian immigrants (Japanese and Korean) also show high education levels.

According to an economics professor at the University of Texas, Stephen Trejo, “the children of immigrants have more education than a typical American. The only groups that haven't caught up are a handful of Hispanic groups and they're sizeable.”

Which Immigrant Groups Are Less Educated?

The immigrants from Mexico don’t fall for the pattern, being the largest foreign-born who number 11.5 million and over. Mexican immigrants in the first generation have less than 10 years of schooling upon arrival to the U.S. This is not enough being roughly the equivalent of a 9th-grade education. The second generation of Mexicans has 12.7 of schooling for males and 12.9 years for females. Still, Mexican-Americans don't push their limits in terms of further education in next generations.

Not only immigrants from Mexico, but also Central America, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico have significantly less education. Researchers admit that ⅓ of Mexican immigrants in the third generation no longer identify as Hispanics because of intermarriage. The children in the intermarried families prove to be more educated.

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