NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Lacking Skills, More Immigrants Remain In Poverty

March 29, 2001

The large majority of immigrants coming to the U.S. today have less education and fewer skills than their predecessors in earlier decades. Thus many of the newcomers are remaining in poverty, while native-born Americans are escaping it. That is the conclusion of a new analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies, based on Census Bureau data.

  • The group found that 41.1 percent of immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for one or two decades lived in or near poverty in 1997 -- compared to 28.8 percent of native-born Americans.
  • That is a reverse of the situation 30 years before -- when just 25.7 percent of immigrants and 35.1 percent of native-borns lived in or near poverty.
  • Just 38.9 percent of immigrants who by last year had lived in the U.S. between 11 and 20 years had become citizens.
  • In 1970, 63.6 percent of such long-term immigrants had been naturalized.

Steven A. Camarota, the center's research director and author of the study, calls the findings "frightening."

He adds: "The decline in the relative education level of immigrants is so important because there is no single better predictor of success in modern America."

Source: August Gribbin, "More Immigrants Staying in Poverty, Study Claims," Washington Times, March 29, 2001; Steven A. Camarota, "The Slowing Progress of Immigrants: An Examination of Income, Home Ownership, and Citizenship, 1970-2000," Backgrounder, March 2001, Center for Immigration Studies, 1522 K Street N.W., Suite 820, Washington D.C., 20005-1202,(202) 466-8185.

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