43 Percent Of Houston-Area Children Have An Immigrant Parent

The share of children with an immigrant parent is slowly increasing in Texas and nationwide.

More than 40 percent of Houston-area children have at least one immigrant parent — a larger share than in all other major Texas cities, according to new research by think-tank the Urban Institute.

Their report found 34 percent of Texas kids have at least one immigrant parent, compared to 31 percent in 2007.

Nearly a third of Texas children with an immigrant parent live below the federal poverty threshold.

Research also shows these children are more likely to be bilingual and grow up in low-income, two parent households than kids with parents who were born in the United States.

Urban Institute researcher Cary Lou said he found a lot of diversity within this population of kids.

"Children of immigrants are more likely to have parents with less than a high school education, but there's also quite a decent share of parents with a 4-year degree or more and that's not too far behind children with only US-born parents," said Lou.


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Another key finding was that immigrant parents tend not to be new arrivals.

"More than three quarters of children of immigrants have parents who have been in the U.S. for a decade or more," according to Urban Institute researcher Hamutal Bernstein.

Data also show children of immigrants tend to be citizens themselves.

Bernstein said understanding this child population is important because it helps measure effects of policy changes.

"We're talking about really large ripple effects from immigration policies that may be targeted at very specific groups but can go far beyond those individuals," she said.