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New U.S. Immigrants are the Best Educated—Ever

7 Oct

The gap in high school com­ple­tion between im­mig­rant ar­rivals and U.S.-born adults widened un­til about 2000, but it has since nar­rowed. About 65 per­cent of those im­mig­rants ar­riv­ing with­in five years of 2000 had at least fin­ished high school. That com­pares with 83 per­cent of U.S.-born adults in 2000 who had fin­ished high school—a gap of about 18 points. But as of 2013, the gap has nar­rowed to 13 points.

The im­proved edu­ca­tion­al pro­file of re­cent ar­rivals that has quickened in the new cen­tury is likely due to sev­er­al factors. First, im­mig­rant ar­rivals from Asia—now the re­gion send­ing the most new im­mig­rants to the U.S.—tend to be very well edu­cated, with some 57 per­cent of them hold­ing at least a bach­el­or’s de­gree in 2013.

Im­mig­rant ar­rivals from Cent­ral and South Amer­ica tend to be less edu­cated. But the num­ber of im­mig­rants com­ing from those re­gions has sharply de­clined from 2000 to 2013, while the num­ber of im­mig­rants from Asia has been on the rise.