As the state’s economy and population grow, the future of Texas depends on the health, education and financial security of all our children. But we cannot raise the bar for all kids if we don’t look specifically at how children of color are faring and how our public policies impact the 2.4 million children of immigrants living in Texas.
Here are five things to know about race, ethnicity and immigration status in Texas:
1. Race, ethnicity and immigration status are both distinct and overlapping.
- According to the Census Bureau, nearly half of the more than 7 million children in Texas are of Hispanic/Latino ethnicity.
- Of the 3.5 million children of Hispanic ethnicity who live in Texas, 82 percent identify their race as White.
- Ninety-five percent of Hispanic children in Texas are U.S. citizens.
2. One-third of Texas kids (nearly 2.4 million) live with one or more parents who is an immigrant.
- Of these children, half live with at least one parent who is not a U.S. citizen (includes legally authorized).
- Researchers estimate that 834,000 children in Texas live with one or more undocumented parents.
3. Immigrants in Texas represent a diverse and complex group.
- The largest percentage of parents who are immigrants arrive from Latin America, but a growing share arrive from Asia.
- Texas families that include immigrants differ not only in regard to the countries of birth for parents and children, but English-speaking proficiency, length of time spent living in the U.S., education levels, and race and ethnicity.
4. Children in families that include one or more immigrants fare better on some aspects of child well-being than children with U.S.-born parents.
- Children in immigrant families have lower infant mortality rates than children with U.S.-born parents.
- They are also more likely to be born at a healthy birthweight, decreasing risk of developmental delays and disabilities.
5. Immigration and economic growth are linked.
- Research shows that metropolitan areas with the greatest economic growth also experienced the greatest increase in the labor force attributed to immigrants.
- Immigration functions as both a cause and effect of growth: growing cities attract workers, and new workers bolster economic growth.
- Immigrants also power the state economy as job creators, small business owners and entrepreneurs.