Equity & Diversity

Salvadorans Are Nation’s 6th-Largest Immigrant Group

By Mary Ann Zehr — January 14, 2010 1 min read
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The presence of a large number of restaurants serving papusas—a tasty tortilla filled with cheese, beans, or meat—is one sign that the Washington area is home to a lot of Salvadoran immigrants. But I had no idea that Salvadorans are the second-largest immigrant group from Latin America and the sixth-largest immigrant group in the nation until I read a demographic profile of them released today by the Migration Policy Institute.

The groups of immigrants that are larger than the Salvadoran contingent are Mexicans, Filipinos, Indians, Chinese, and Vietnamese. The profile says the United States has almost as many immigrants from the small Central American nation of El Salvador as it does from China.

Educational attainment is low for Salvadoran immigrants, compared with other immigrant groups, according to the profile. More than half don’t have a high school education, which is true of a third of immigrants to the United States on average.

Since educational attainment of parents tends to influence how well children do in school, schools have a special challenge to make sure that children of Salvadoran immigrants get the academic support they need.

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