ChildStats.gov—Forum on Child and Family Statistics
faces of children
Home  |  About the Forum  |  Publications  |  Help
Search

America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2017

Children of at Least One Foreign-Born Parent

The foreign-born population of the United States has grown since 1970.16 This increase in the past generation has largely been due to immigration from Latin America and Asia, and has led to an expansion in the diversity of language and cultural backgrounds of children growing up in the United States.16 Potential language and cultural barriers confronting children and their foreign-born parents may make additional language resources both at school and at home necessary for these children.17

Indicator FAM4: Percentage of children ages 0–17 by nativity of child and parents, selected years 1994–2016
Indicator FAM4: Percentage of children ages 0–17 by nativity of child and parents, selected years 1994–2016

NOTE: Data for 2016 exclude the nearly 291,000 household residents under age 18 who were listed as family reference persons or spouses. Children living in households with no parents present are not shown in this figure but are included in the bases for the percentages. Native-born parents means that all of the parents the child lives with are native born. Foreign-born means that one or both of the child's parents are foreign born. Anyone with U.S. citizenship at birth is considered native born, which includes people born in the United States or in U.S. outlying areas and people born abroad with at least one American parent. Foreign-born children with native-born parents are included in the native children with native parents category. Prior to 2007, Current Population Survey (CPS) data identified only one parent on the child's record. This meant that a second parent could only be identified if he or she was married to the first parent. In 2007, a second parent identifier was added to the CPS. This permits identification of two coresident parents, even if the parents are not married to each other.

SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement.

  • From 1994 to 2016, the percentage of all children living in the United States with at least one foreign-born parent rose from 15 percent to 25 percent. Today, 22 percent of children are native born with at least one foreign-born parent, and 3 percent are foreign born with at least one foreign-born parent.
  • Children of foreign-born parents tend to have parents with less education than children whose parents were born in the United States. In 2016, more than 20 percent of children with a foreign-born parent, regardless of their own nativity, had a parent with less than a high school diploma, compared with just 5 percent of children with native-born parents.18
  • Regardless of their own nativity, children with a foreign-born parent more often live with two parents than children whose parents were born in the United States. In 2016, about 83 percent of native-born children with a foreign-born parent lived with two parents, compared with 68 percent of native-born children with two native-born parents.

table icon FAM4 HTML Table

16 Grieco, E. (2010). Race and Hispanic origin of the foreign-born population in the United States: 2007. American Community Survey Reports (ACS-11). U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/acs-11.pdf

17 Hernandez, D. J., Denton, N. A., & Macartney, S. E. (2008). Children in immigrant families: Looking to America's future. Social Policy Report, 22 (3):3–11. Retrieved from http://www.srcd.org/sites/default/files/documents/22_3_hernandez_final.pdf

18 If the child lived with two parents, the education reflected is that of the parent with the highest degree.