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Contact:  Melanie Deal
Public Information Office


Census Bureau Reports Foreign-Born Households are Larger, Include More Children and Grandparents

     The U.S. Census Bureau reported today that foreign-born households are, on average, larger than native households, have more children under age 18, and are more likely to be multigenerational.

     The average size of foreign-born households (3.4 people) was larger than that of native-born households (2.5 people). About 62 percent of foreign-born family households included children under 18, compared with 47 percent of native-born households. Multigenerational households, with three or more generations living together, were more common among foreign-born (10 percent) than native-born (5 percent) family households.

     Among the regions of birth, family households with a householder born in Latin America and the Caribbean were the most likely to include children under 18 (70 percent), followed by Africa (67 percent), Oceania (60 percent) and Asia (56 percent). Families with a householder born in Northern America or Europe (both less than 40 percent) were less likely to include children under 18 than native-born households. (Oceania consists of Australia, New Zealand, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia; Northern America consists of Canada, Bermuda, Greenland, and St. Pierre and Miquelon.)

     A family household consists of a householder and one or more people living together who are related to the householder by birth, marriage or adoption. About 77 percent of foreign-born households were family households, compared with 65 percent of native-born households.

     These data come from The Foreign-Born Population in the United States: 2010, a new report about the characteristics of the nation's foreign-born population from the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS). The report also examines differences among foreign-born region-of- birth groups on a wide range of topics that include age, sex, marital status, fertility, period of entry into the United States, naturalization and citizenship status, language, education, labor force participation, occupation, health insurance coverage, income and poverty.

     “There is considerable variation among the different foreign-born groups in household type and composition,” said Elizabeth M. Grieco, chief of the Census Bureau's Foreign-Born Population Branch and one of the authors of the report. “This diversity is also seen in the other demographic, social and economic characteristics covered in this report.”

     A sampling of findings from the report includes:

Size and World Region of Birth

     In 2010, the foreign-born population reached about 40 million and represented 13 percent of the nation. Latin America and the Caribbean was the largest region-of-birth group, accounting for more than half (53 percent) of all foreign-born residents. By comparison, 28 percent of the foreign-born population were born in Asia, 12 percent in Europe, 4 percent in Africa, 2 percent in Northern America and less than 1 percent in Oceania.

Period of Entry and Naturalization

     About two-thirds (62 percent) of foreign-born residents came to live in the United States in 1990 or later, including more than one-third (35 percent) who entered in 2000 or later. The majority (78 percent) of the foreign-born population from Africa entered in 1990 or later, including more than half (52 percent) who entered in 2000 or later.

     In 2010, 44 percent of all foreign-born residents were naturalized citizens. Foreign-born residents from Europe (62 percent) and Asia (58 percent) had the highest percent naturalized, while foreign-born residents from Latin America and the Caribbean had the lowest percent (32 percent).

     Of all foreign-born residents who arrived before 1980, 80 percent were U.S. citizens in 2010.

Geographic Distribution

     While foreign-born residents resided in every state, more than half lived in just four states: California (25 percent), New York (11 percent), Texas (10 percent) and Florida (9 percent). More than one in four (27 percent) residents in California were foreign-born.

Marital Status and Fertility

     In 2010, 58 percent of foreign-born residents 15 and older were married, while 26 percent were never married. Native-born residents were less likely to be married (47 percent) and more likely to never have been married (33 percent). Among the regions of birth, foreign-born residents from Asia had the highest proportion married (66 percent) while those from Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean had the lowest (each 54 percent).

     Foreign-born women had a higher fertility rate than native-born women. About 70 of every 1,000 foreign-born women age 15 to 50 had given birth in the 12 months prior to the survey, compared with 52 of every 1,000 native-born women in the same age group. Women age 15 to 50 from Africa had the highest fertility rate among the regions, with 97 births per 1,000 women.

Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance

     The median household income of foreign-born households in the year prior to the survey was $46,224, compared with $50,541 for native households. About 19 percent of the foreign-born population were living below the poverty level in the prior year, compared with about 15 percent of native-born.

     About 66 percent of the foreign-born population had health insurance coverage in 2010 compared with 87 percent of the native-born population. Among those with health insurance, 75 percent of the foreign-born and 78 percent of the native-born were covered by a private health insurance provider.

Additional Foreign-Born Reports

     In addition to the report [PDF] released today, the Census Bureau recently released three briefs about the foreign-born population: The Newly Arrived Foreign-Born Population of the United States: 2010 [PDF], The Foreign-Born With Science and Engineering Degrees: 2010 [PDF] and The Foreign Born from Latin America and the Caribbean: 2010 [PDF]. These briefs, based on 2010 American Community Survey results, also provide a look at the differences in the characteristics of the foreign-born. A complete list of all Census Bureau publications on the foreign-born population in the United States is accessible here: <https://www.census.gov/population/foreign/>.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: May 19, 2016