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Births to legal and illegal imigrants in the U.S. - sm

Posted: Oct 10th, 2018 - 5:00 am

One of the most obvious and enduring impacts of immigration occurs through immigrants' children. Long after immigrants pass on, their descendants will continue to shape the political, economic, and cultural life in the receiving society. Examining births to immigrants is thus a way of measuring the scale of immigration and its impact on the United States. Because the United States automatically awards citizenship to all persons born in the country, including those born to temporary visitors or illegal immigrants, the overwhelming majority of these children will stay in the United States.

This analysis looks at births to immigrants based on an analysis of the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS). It provides a good picture of births to immigrant mothers, including the mothers' demographic characteristics.1 These characteristics allow us to estimate the likely number of births to illegal immigrants nationally, as well as births by state and by large metropolitan area.

In 2014, one in five births (791,000) in the United States was to an immigrant mother (legal or illegal). Our best estimate is that legal immigrants accounted for 12.4 percent (494,000) of all births, and illegal immigrants accounted for 7.5 percent (297,000).

The 297,000 births per year to illegal immigrants is larger than the total number of births in any state other than California and Texas. It is also larger than the total number of births in 16 states plus the District of Columbia, combined.

The estimated 28,000 births to illegal immigrants in just the Los Angeles metro area is larger than the total number of births in 14 states and the District of Columbia.

Among the native-born, a large share of new mothers (42 percent) are either uninsured or on Medicaid. The rate is even higher among new mothers who are legal immigrants (47 percent) and higher still for new mothers who are in the United States illegally (67 percent). Almost all of these births are likely paid for by taxpayers.

Of all births likely paid for by taxpayers, about one in four (429,000) was to an immigrant (legal or illegal). Illegal immigrants account for 11 percent (198,000) of all publicly funded births, and legal immigrants are another 13 percent (231,000).
We estimate that the cost to taxpayers for births to immigrants (legal and illegal) is roughly $5.3 billion — $2.4 billion of which is for illegal immigrants.

Although immigration adds enormously to the number of births, it raises the nation’s overall birth rate by only 4 percent, partly because immigrant fertility is not that much higher than that of natives States.

In California, New Jersey, and New York, immigrants (legal and illegal) account for about one-third of all births. In Massachusetts, Nevada, Florida, Texas, Hawaii, Maryland, and Washington, immigrants account for one in four births. Immigrants account for one in five births in Virginia, Connecticut, Illinois, Arizona, Rhode Island, and Oregon.

The states with the largest numbers of births to illegal immigrants are California with 65,000, Texas with 51,000, Florida with 16,000, Illinois with 14,000, Georgia with 13,000, New York with 12,000, and New Jersey and North Carolina with 11,000 each.
The state with the highest share of births to illegal immigrants is Nevada, at nearly one in six. Births to illegal immigrants account for one in seven births in California and Texas.
In North Carolina, Texas, and Georgia, three-fourths of births to illegal immigrants were likely paid for by taxpayers. In California, Florida, and New York, two-thirds of these births were likely taxpayer funded. In Illinois and New Jersey, more than half were likely funded by the public.
Metropolitan Areas
Among the nation's largest metro areas, immigrants (legal and illegal) account for half or nearly half of births in Miami, San Francisco, and San Jose, Calif. They are two out of five births in Los Angeles and the New York City area. They are also one out of three births in the metro areas of Washington, D.C., Houston, San Diego, Seattle, Boston, and Las Vegas.
Illegal immigrants account for more than one in seven births in the Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Jose, Dallas, and Houston metro areas. Typically between two-thirds and three-fourths of these births are likely paid for by taxpayers.
Data and Methods
This analysis relies on the Census Bureau's five-year, public-use file from the American Community Survey (ACS), collected between 2012 and 2016. With roughly 15.7 million respondents, including 1.8 million immigrants, the five-year ACS is by far the largest survey conducted by the Census Bureau. It is weighted to reflect the size and characteristics of the U.S. population over the full five-year period.

Definitions. In this analysis we use the terms "foreign-born" and "immigrant" synonymously. Immigrants are persons living in the United States who were not U.S. citizens at birth. Census Bureau data such as the ACS includes naturalized American citizens, legal permanent residents (green card holders), illegal aliens, and people on long-term temporary visas, such as foreign students or guest workers....

LINK/URL: Births to legal and illegal imigrants in the U.S.


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