Economic Need In Immigrant Families
Apr 21, 2009
A new research brief from Child Trends and the Center for Social and Demographic Analysis shows child poverty rates disproportionally higher among immigrant families. It is widely agreed that the official U.S. poverty measure is too low and an inaccurate reflection of economic hardship. The Economic Policy Institute has created estimates of the family budget needed across the country to pay for housing, food, health care, and other basic expenses. Building on this basic budget poverty measure, researchers calculated poverty rates among children in immigrant families and children in U.S.-born citizen families across the states.
Using a budget poverty measure that includes the costs of child care and early education, they find that children in immigrant families have a national estimated budget poverty rate of 47 percent, compared to their official poverty rate of 21 percent. Children of U.S.-born citizens have a national estimated budget poverty rate of 28 percent, compared to their official poverty rate of 13 percent.
While poverty rates vary from state to state, children in immigrant families experience higher rates of poverty in all but nine states, with gaps in rates for immigrant and native families as large as 27 percent in Arizona and Minnesota and 25 percent in Texas.
A range of supports targeted to immigrant families, including access to child care and early education, could help alleviate this disparity in children experiencing poverty. This new data should encourage policymakers to think about using new Economic Recovery Act funds to further support for immigrant families in their states.