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Immigrants

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The immigrant population in the United States has burgeoned over the past few decades. From 1990 to 2006, the number of immigrants rose from 20 million to more than 37 million. Urban Institute immigration policy experts study how the foreign-born population is growing, integrating, and changing.

We have analyzed immigrants' contributions to the labor force and the economy, tracked fast-growing immigrant communities, studied the effect of No Child Left Behind on immigrant children and English Language Learners, and surveyed foreign-born households’ health, well-being, and economic mobility. Read more.

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From Cradle to Career: The Multiple Challenges Facing Immigrant Families in Langley Park Promise Neighborhood (Research Report)
Molly M. Scott, Graham MacDonald, Juan Collazos, Ben Levinger, Eliza Leighton, Jamila Ball

With estimates predicting that immigrants and their children will account for most of U.S. population growth over the next 4 decades, it is critical to understand how to build ladders of opportunity for these families. This report is a complete assessment of the needs of Langley Park, an immigrant neighborhood outside Washington, DC. Langley Park families are resilient but experience substantial hardships that may stall the progress of subsequent generations. At six crucial life transitions, children lag behind on indicators of future success. Fortunately, the data pinpoint not only the gaps, but also opportunities for change.

Posted to Web: June 23, 2014Publication Date: June 23, 2014

Understanding the Dynamics of Disconnection from Employment and Assistance (Research Report)
Heather Sandstrom, Kristin S. Seefeldt, Sandra Huerta, Pamela J. Loprest

Low-income individuals who are not employed or receiving TANF are often referred to as “disconnected.” This study uses interview data from a sample of 51 disconnected, unmarried mothers from Southeast Michigan and Los Angeles, California to learn about their experiences related to work and benefit receipt. In Michigan, many women had hit the TANF time limit but could not find employment. In Los Angeles, some women preferred to stay home to care for young children, but others lacked child care and work experience. Immigrant mothers struggled without working papers. Despite receiving assistance from different sources, material hardship was quite common.

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Posted to Web: June 02, 2014Publication Date: June 02, 2014

Executive Summary: Understanding the Dynamics of Disconnection from Employment and Assistance (Summary)
Heather Sandstrom, Kristin S. Seefeldt, Sandra Huerta, Pamela J. Loprest

Low-income individuals who are not employed or receiving TANF are often referred to as “disconnected.” This study uses interview data from a sample of 51 disconnected, unmarried mothers from Southeast Michigan and Los Angeles, California to learn about their experiences related to work and benefit receipt. In Michigan, many women had hit the TANF time limit but could not find employment. In Los Angeles, some women preferred to stay home to care for young children, but others lacked child care and work experience. Immigrant mothers struggled without working papers. Despite receiving assistance from different sources, material hardship was quite common.

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Posted to Web: June 02, 2014Publication Date: June 02, 2014

Do Racial Disparities in Private Transfers Help Explain the Racial Wealth Gap?: New Evidence From Longitudinal Data (Research Report)
Signe-Mary McKernan, Caroline Ratcliffe, Margaret Simms, Sisi Zhang

How do private transfers differ by race and ethnicity, and do such differences explain the racial and ethnic disparity in wealth? Using panel data and a family-level fixed-effect model, we find that African Americans and Hispanics (immigrant and nonimmigrant) receive less in both financial support and large gifts and inheritances than whites. Large gifts and inheritances, but not net financial support received, are related to wealth increases for African American and white families. Overall, we estimate that the African American shortfall in large gifts and inheritances accounts for 12 percent of the white-black racial wealth gap.

Related Publications

Does Financial Support and Inheritance Contribute to the Racial Wealth Gap?

Private Transfers, Race, and Wealth



Posted to Web: May 28, 2014Publication Date: May 20, 2014

Children of Immigrants: 2011 State Trends Update (Research Report)
Devlin Hanson, Margaret Simms

From 2006 to 2011, the number of children age 0 to 17 with at least one immigrant parent grew by 1.5 million children, from 15.7 to 17.2 million. They account for nearly one-quarter of all children in the United States. This brief highlights national and state level information, using data from the 2010 and 2011 American Community Surveys.

Posted to Web: May 05, 2014Publication Date: May 05, 2014

Capitol Hill Economist and Data Visualization Expert Jonathan Schwabish to Join Urban Institute (Press Release)
Urban Institute

Jonathan Schwabish, an economist with the Congressional Budget Office, will join the Urban Institute on May 7 as a senior researcher and data visualization expert. A leading voice calling for clarity and accessibility in research, Schwabish will boost the Institute's capabilities in data visualization and conduct research on older workers, people with disabilities, food security, immigration policy, and microsimulation modeling at Urban's Income and Benefits Policy Center.

Posted to Web: April 21, 2014Publication Date: April 21, 2014

Ten Years of Language Access in Washington, DC (Research Report)
Hamutal Bernstein, Julia Gelatt, Devlin Hanson, William Monson

This report provides an overview of the implementation of the Language Access Act within the context of the unique demographic and economic characteristics of the District's immigrant community. We describe DC's Language Access Program, its creation, and evolution, profile the city's LEP/NEP population, and identify accomplishments and challenges for each of the three major domains required for ensuring full language access: identifying language needs, serving language needs, and monitoring the provision of those services. We conclude with recommendations for next steps for city government officials and other stakeholders as they continue to strengthen the Language Access Program in the District.

Posted to Web: April 15, 2014Publication Date: April 15, 2014

Supporting Immigrant Families' Access to Prekindergarten (Research Report)
Julia Gelatt, Gina Adams, Sandra Huerta

Children of immigrants can benefit from attending prekindergarten, though they enroll less, on average, than children with US-born parents. This detailed report draws on interviews conducted with over 40 prekindergarten directors and staff, directors of early childhood education programs, and other specialists to present strategies for improving prekindergarten enrollment among immigrant families and English Language Learners. This includes strategies for outreach to support prekindergarten enrollment; helping immigrant families overcome language, documentation, and other logistical barriers when enrolling their children in prekindergarten programs; and building trust and good relationships with immigrant parents and designing immigrant- and ELL-friendly programs.

Posted to Web: March 19, 2014Publication Date: March 19, 2014

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