New U.S. Immigrants are the Best Educated—Ever
by Foster, on News
The immigrants who have recently come to the United States are the most highly educated in history. A Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data shows that 41 percent of immigrants arriving in the past five years had completed at least a bachelor’s degree. By comparison, only 20 percent of newly arrived immigrants in 1970 were similarly educated.
Educational attainment has also risen over the past 50 years for adults born in the U.S. For example, in 2013, 3 in 10 U.S.-born adults had completed at least a bachelor’s degree, triple the share of U.S.-born adults that had done the same in 1970.
But newly arrived immigrants remain more likely than the U.S. born to have earned a degree, and that gap is now at its biggest since 1970. In that year, new arrivals had an advantage of 9 percentage points over U.S.-born adults in the share completing a bachelor’s degree (20 percent versus 11 percent). That advantage narrowed to 6 points in 1990. But the advantage in college completion held by recently arrived immigrants has since widened, to about 12 points as of 2013 (41 percent versus 30 percent).
On the other end of the education spectrum, almost a quarter (23 percent) of today’s new arrivals have not completed high school. Even so, it’s an improvement over 1970, when half of newly arrived immigrants had not finished high school.
Adapt or Resist?
How the GOP should respond to a rapidly changing country has become the central issue in the volatile Republican presidential race.