A Profile of Highly Skilled Mexican Immigrants in Texas and the United States
Education levels are on the rise among Mexican immigrants, who now comprise the fourth largest group of college-educated immigrants in the United States, after those from India, China, and the Philippines. The number of Mexican immigrants with a bachelor’s degree or higher grew from 269,000 in 2000 to 678,000 in 2017—an increase that is primarily explained by higher college attainment among recent arrivals. Nearly one in six Mexicans arriving between 2013-17 had a college degree, compared to slightly more than one in 20 for those entering during the 1996-2000 period.
This fact sheet offers a profile of degree-holding Mexicans in Texas, which is home to 27 percent of all such immigrants nationwide, and in the Texas metropolitan areas with the most college-educated Mexican immigrants (Houston, Dallas, El Paso, McAllen, and San Antonio). Among other key characteristics, the fact sheet breaks these populations down by legal status, age, English proficiency, poverty levels, and industries of employment.
Key findings of this analysis include:
- Houston and Dallas are home to the largest numbers of college-educated Mexican immigrants in Texas, but highly skilled individuals made up larger shares of Mexicans in San Antonio, McAllen, and El Paso—metro areas closer to the U.S.-Mexico border.
- Naturalized citizens made up the largest share of Mexican college graduates, but unauthorized immigrants and green-card holders are also well represented. Temporary-visa holders were a much smaller share of the total population, though they were the group most likely to hold a degree.
- Top industries of employment for college-educated Mexicans in Texas were a mix of more and less skilled work, raising questions about underemployment and what can be done to make the most of these immigrants’ potential contributions to the state and U.S. economies.
I. Highly Skilled Mexican Immigrants in Texas and Nationwide
Skill-Level Differences among Texas Metropolitan Areas
II. Educational Levels by Legal Status
III. Key Socioeconomic Characteristics of Highly Skilled Mexicans in Texas