Equity & Diversity

America’s Newest Immigrants: Who Are They? Where Are They?

By Lesli A. Maxwell — November 18, 2011 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The latest data dump from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals interesting changes to immigration patterns, especially some shifting in the countries of origin of newer waves of immigrants and where these newcomers are choosing to live.

There are 40 million foreign-born residents as of 2010, the majority of whom came to the U.S. prior to 2005. But 17 percent are “newly arrived,” which by the Census bureau’s definition means they came to the States between 2005 and 2010.

And while the traditional gateway states of California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas are still home to the most foreign-born residents, the most recent immigrants have scattered to more states than their predecessors. Notably, states with small immigrant populations overall have had much higher proportions of recent entrants than the traditional gateway states. That happens to include Alabama—now home to the nation’s toughest immigration law—where 33 percent of its foreign-born population has arrived just since 2005.

Digging into the “Newly Arrived Foreign-Born Population of the United States: 2010" report, which the Census released yesterday, you’ll find that since 2008, immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean accounted for just 41 percent of newcomers. Prior to 2005, immigrants from that region constituted 54 percent of new arrivals.

It’s especially striking to see what’s happened to the flow of Mexican immigrants in just a few years. The foreign-born from Mexico accounted for 30 percent of newly arrived immigrants who entered prior to 2005, 28 percent for the 2005 through 2007 period, but only 19 percent of those who entered since 2008. One researcher’s hypothesis is that the expansion and improvement of schooling in Mexico has stemmed the flow of immigrants to the U.S.

I would think, though, that the ferocious drug war raging along the Mexico-U.S. border has discouraged many would-be immigrants from crossing the border illegally. And the downturn in the American economy has most likely had a major impact too.

It’s also notable that the percentage of immigrants from China and India has steadily risen, constituting 9 percent and 8 percent, respectively, of the newly arrived foreign born.

All of this shifting, of course, impacts K-12 schooling. As we know, more and more schools around the country are seeing children in their classrooms who do not speak English and must learn the language.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.

Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Equity & Diversity Reported Essay What the Indian Caste System Taught Me About Racism in American Schools
Born and raised in India, reporter Eesha Pendharkar isn’t convinced that America’s anti-racist efforts are enough to make students of color feel like they belong.
7 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Equity & Diversity Reported Essay Our Student Homeless Numbers Are Staggering. Schools Can Be a Bridge to a Solution
The pandemic has only made the student homelessness situation more volatile. Schools don’t have to go it alone.
5 min read
Conceptual illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Equity & Diversity How Have the Debates Over Critical Race Theory Affected You? Share Your Story
We want to hear how new constraints on teaching about racism have affected your schools.
1 min read
Mary Hassdyk for Education Week
Equity & Diversity Opinion When Educational Equity Descends Into Educational Nihilism
Schools need to buckle down to engage and educate kids—not lower (or eliminate) expectations in the name of “equity.”
3 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty