Pew Research Studies Success Of Second-Generation Immigrants

The Pew Research Center released a study on February 7 that discussed the socioeconomic success of U.S. citizens who were born to immigrant parents. Second-generation Americans, many of whom are children of individuals who arrived in the United States during the 1960s immigration peak, outperformed foreign born individuals.

The report collected data from the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as surveys that the institute collected over the last several years. The research found that Hispanics and Asian-Americans make up roughly 50 percent of the second-generation population.

According to the data, second-generation immigrants have higher incomes, are more likely to graduate college and own a house, and less likely to live below the poverty level. Approximately 36 percent of second-generation adults are college graduates, which is 5 percent higher than the rate for all U.S. adults. The research also found that when compared to the general U.S. public, second-generation immigrants find hard work and success in careers to be more important.

“Throughout history, the second generation is the one that marches into the mainstream and makes advances on the economic front,” said Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center. “And we see that playing out in the modern era.”

Pew Research also found significant differences and patterns between cultures. For example, approximately 55 percent of second generation Asian-Americans have a bachelor’s degree or higher, while 21 percent of Hispanics hold a degree. There are also differences between household income and skill levels.

Currently, the median age of second-generation adults in the United States is 38. Of those individuals, about 90 percent are proficient in English. About 80 percent of second-generation Hispanics can speak Spanish and 40 percent of second-generation Asians can speak their parents’ native tongue.