School students: 23% are from immigrant families

Almost one out of four (23%) public school students in the United States came from an immigrant household in 2015. As recently as 1990 it was 11%, and in 1980 it was just 7%.

Immigrant households are concentrated; just 700 of the 2,351 Census Bureau-designated PUMAs (Public Use Microdata Areas) account for two-thirds of students from immigrant households

In these 700 immigrant-heavy areas, half the students are from immigrant households.

Some of the metropolitan areas where students from immigrant households account for the largest share of enrollment include: San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 60%; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif., 57%; Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Fla., 54%; McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas, 50%; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., 50%; Yuma, Ariz., 50%; Las Cruces, N.M., 44%; New York-Newark-Jersey City, 44%; Yakima, Wash., 44%; Trenton, N.J., 42%; Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev., 38%; Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, 37%; Gainesville, Ga., 36%.

Immigration has added enormously to the population of students who speak a foreign language. In 2015, 23% of public school students spoke a language other than English at home. This compares to 14% in 1990 and 9% in 1980.

The impact of immigration varies a great deal across metropolitan statistical areas. In 38 of the nation’s 260 MSAs more than a third of students are from immigrant households, but in 40 of the nation’s MSAs fewer than 5 percent of students are from immigrant households.

From “Mapping the Impact of Immigration on Public Schools


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