New US immigrants more educated than in the past

A new report carried out by the Migration Policy Institute reveals that a higher proportion of recent US immigrants are far more educated than they once were.

The data shows that 48 per cent of immigrants who arrived in the United States between 2011 and 2015 held a bachelor’s degree. In 1990, just 27 per cent of immigrants who arrived in the country in the previous five years had held an equivalent qualification.

Among the reasons given for the rise in education levels in immigrants was a shift in where modern-day immigrants come from. Particularly the rising number of people coming from India and China.

Among immigrants from Asian countries, 62 per cent of recent arrivals were college educated, compared with 40 per cent from Africa and 23 per cent from Latin America. Among immigrants from India, that proportion reached 86 per cent, the study found.

Another factor for the rise was found to be a steep decline in fewer, often less-educated, unauthorised immigrants entering the country. The number of unauthorised immigrants entering the United States in 2015 fell below 2009 levels.

The study, which was carried out by analysing Census data, contradicts President Donald Trump’s claims in March that the majority of US immigrants were low-skilled and that America should move to a merit-based immigration system.

“For a very long time, the perception of immigrants was they had low education, were low-skilled and they came to the U.S. to take advantage of opportunity and benefits,” said Jeanne Batalova, the institute’s senior policy analyst. “Our study sheds light on the fact that the debates and the public understanding of immigration often lags behind the realities.”

The recent rise in education levels has driven up the proportion of all adult immigrants in the United States with college degrees to 30 per cent in 2015, from 20 per cent in 1990, the study said.

Article published 5th June 2017