Thursday, June 9, 2011

Study: Immigrants are better educated

Study: Immigrants are better educated
Sacramento Business Journal - by Patrick Twohy
Date: Thursday, June 9, 2011, 1:02pm PDT - Last Modified: Thursday, June 9, 2011, 1:09pm PDT
Immigrants in the United States are far better educated and distributed more broadly around the country than they were a generation ago.

Immigrants with college degrees outnumber immigrants without high school diplomas in 44 of the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

That and other data are among the findings of a study released today in which the Brookings Institution examined data collected by the federal government. Nationally, the study found that immigrants are better educated and are more geographically distributed than immigrants to the United States were a generation ago.

It’s also interesting that, compared with their U.S.-born counterparts, low-skilled immigrants have higher rates of employment and lower household poverty.

In the Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville metro region, 78 immigrants have college degrees for every 100 who don't. The immigrant population of 361,956 represents 17 percent of the population.

Brookings gave Sacramento a rating of re-emerging gateway. That means Sacramento, along with other places such as Baltimore, Portland and Seattle, have had large refugee resettlements in the last few decades. Some refugees may arrive with little formal education, while others come to the area highly skilled. The result is that the metro area is to be balanced on both ends of the skill spectrum, according to Brookings.

Nationally, the report said that more immigrants (30 percent) have at least a bachelor’s degree than lack a high-school diploma (28 percent). Forty-four of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas are high-skilled immigrant destinations, where college-educated immigrants outnumber immigrants without high school diplomas by at least 25 percent.

“Nearly one in six workers in our country was born somewhere else,” said Audrey Singer, a Brookings senior fellow and co-author of the report, in a statement. “Low- and high-skilled immigration has grown nationally, but the mix varies across metropolitan areas. High-skilled immigrants cluster in coastal metros like Seattle and Washington, D.C., and in older industrial metros like Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Detroit, and Cleveland. Lower-skilled immigrants are more strongly represented in metro areas in the Southwest border states and in places with the fastest-growing immigrant populations, particularly in the Southeast.”

The cities with the highest proportion of well-educated immigrants are led by Pittsburgh, followed by Dayton, Ohio; St. Louis, Baltimore and Cincinnati. None of those areas have large immigrant communities, however.
Four the six areas with the lowest skill ratios are in California's Central Valley — Bakersfield, Modesto, Fresno and Stockton. The other two of those six are McAllen and El Paso, Texas.

The metro areas with the largest percent of immigrants to total population are led by south Florida, where 92 immigrants have college degrees or better for every 100 lacking a high school diploma. San Jose and San Francisco, which also have large proportions of immigrants, have skill ratios of 193 and 143 respectively

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