A Closer Look

English Proficiency of Immigrants in US – 48 percent of all immigrants reported speaking English less than “very well”

While the immigrant population in the United States continued its moderate growth in 2017, and the foreign-born share of the overall U.S. population reached a near-historic high of 14 percent, other noteworthy trends were underway beneath these totals. Compared to the 1980­–2010 period, the national origins of new arrivals have shifted. Recent newcomers are more likely to come from Asia, Central America, and Africa, and less likely to be from Mexico. Research also shows that new immigrants tend to have higher educational attainment than those who arrived in prior periods. These changes will have a significant impact on the demographics and future integration outcomes of the country’s immigrant population.

Between 2010 and 2017, the foreign-born population in the United States increased by 4.6 million, or 11 percent, driven in large part by the arrival of Indian and Chinese immigrants. Immigration from the Caribbean (the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Haiti); Central America (El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala); South America (Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil); Asia (the Philippines, Vietnam, and Bangladesh); and Africa (Nigeria) also experienced sizable growth during this period. Together, these 15 countries, shown in Table 1, accounted for 37 percent of the 44.5 million immigrants living in the United States in 2017, and for 76 percent of the immigrant population growth from 2010 to 2017. On the flip side, there are 441,000 fewer Mexican immigrants in the United States today than there were in 2010, the biggest decline of all immigrant groups.


English Proficiency

Overall, about 51 percent of the foreign-born persons (ages 5 and older) from the top 15 high-growth groups reported speaking English less than “very well” versus 48 percent of all immigrants. However, English proficiency levels varied significantly by country. Immigrants from Nigeria, India, and the Philippines, due to the widespread use of English in their home countries, were less likely to be Limited English Proficient (LEP) than those from countries such as Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala (see Figure 5).

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Immigrants from New Origin Countries in the United States | migrationpolicy.org

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