Children of Immigrants and the Future of America
The US is rapidly becoming a more racially and ethnically diverse society. Less than 25 years from now, no single racial or ethnic group will constitute a majority of children. Instead, the new American majority will consist of a mosaic of race-ethnic groups from around the world, many of whom live in immigrant families. It has been nearly a century since American schools have faced the challenge of teaching such a large number of children of immigrants, and never have the schools been asked to educate such a racially and ethnically diverse population. To be successful in educating all of our children, it is essential that schools develop policies and programs founded on research that focuses on the diverse circumstances of children, including children in immigrant families. With the aim of fostering research, policies, and programs to enhance the educational success of all children, this chapter presents new analyses of data from Census 2000 to portray the social demography of America’s children at the beginning of the 21st century. Unless indicated otherwise in the text, results presented here pertain to children aged 0-10, that is, children who are about to begin or who are experiencing their earliest years of formal education. Recent results calculated by the authors from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) indicate that nearly one in four (24%) of children aged 0-10 in 2005 have at least one immigrant parent. Except where another source is cited, results presented in this chapter are calculated by the authors using data from US Census 2000, specifically the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) 5% microdata file prepared by Ruggles et al. (2004). The results presented here from Census 2000 and additional indicators for children aged 0-10 and other groups are available at www.albany.edu/csda/children, by clicking on “data” and then the title of this chapter. This website also presents extensive information for additional age groups, and for specific states and metropolitan areas.