Children in U.S. Immigrant Families


Children in U.S. Immigrant Families

(By Age Group and State, 1990 versus 2016)

The number of immigrants and refugees settling in the United States has increased dramatically in recent decades as has their dispersion to numerous states that have not traditionally been a destination for immigrants. The overwhelming majority of children in immigrant families (88 percent in 2016) are U.S. born. This tool shows how the number and share of children of immigrants changed between 1990 and 2016 for the nation overall and for individual states. It also allows you to examine these trends for two groups of children: between ages 0 and 5 and between ages 6 and 17. Make your state and age group selections using the dropdown menus.


The data here include only children (regardless of their nativity) who reside with at least one parent. The term "children of immigrants" (or children in immigrant families) refers to children under 18 with at least one immigrant parent. The term "immigrants" refers to people residing in the United States who were not U.S. citizens at birth. This population includes naturalized citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPRs), certain legal nonimmigrants (e.g., persons on student or work visas), those admitted under refugee or asylee status, and persons illegally residing in the United States. Beginning with the 2014 American Community Survey, the U.S. Census Bureau excludes children of same-sex married couples from the total number of children; the same information is unavailable by parental nativity. This means that the total number of children may be smaller than in previous years.


Migration Policy Institute (MPI) tabulation of data from U.S. Census Bureau, 2016 American Community Survey (ACS) and 1990 Decennial Census; 1990 data were accessed from Steven Ruggles, J. Trent Alexander, Katie Genadek, Ronald Goeken, Matthew B. Schroeder, and Matthew Sobek, Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: Version 5.0 [Machine-readable database] (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2010).