Center for American Progress

PRESS RELEASE: Assimilation Today – New Evidence on the Advancement of Immigrants in Texas’s Culture and Economy
Press Release

PRESS RELEASE: Assimilation Today – New Evidence on the Advancement of Immigrants in Texas’s Culture and Economy

Read the report here.

Read the Fast Facts here. (pdf)

Listen to today’s press call here. (mp3)

Washington, D.C.—Immigrants in Texas have higher homeownership rates than the national average for immigrants across the United States, according to a new study released today by the Center for American Progress.

Moreover, Texas’s immigrants, including Latino foreign born, own more homes regardless of when they arrived—whether they have lived in the United States for more than two decades or whether they are newcomers who moved here after 2000, according to new research of 2008 U.S. Census Bureau data.

As in the Lone Star state, immigrants across the United States are assimilating at high rates, most notably in the areas of areas of homeownership and citizenship in the first 18 years of residency, and show high rates of advancement the longer they live here.

The findings are contained in the report, “Assimilation Today: New Evidence Shows the Latest Immigrants to America Are Following in Our History’s Footsteps,” by Dowell Myers and John Pitkin of the University of Southern California’s Population Dynamics Research Group. The basic research was supported by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation to the USC team.

Among the key findings in Texas:

  • Immigrants make up 16 percent of the state’s population.
  • Homeownership rates among the border state’s 4.2 million immigrants rank above the national average, regardless of when they arrived. Among those who have been here at least 18 years, 70 percent own homes, 10 points above the national average for other long-time residents.
  • Latino foreign born also exceed the national average for homeownership. In Texas, the rate is 68 percent for those who arrived between 18 and 27 years ago. Among newcomers who have resided in the United States since 2000—this group usually takes longer to buy homes—Texas’s Latino immigrants have a homeownership rate that is eight points above the national average for other Hispanic foreign born.

Nationally, assimilation by all foreign born can be seen in the rising rates of earnings and high school completions. Children of Latino immigrants are more likely than their parents to have B.A. degrees, higher-paying occupations, be living in households above the poverty line, and own homes.

The study refutes claims from immigration opponents who question immigrants’ contributions to U.S. society and economy, and shows robust integration by newcomers since 1990, regardless of their social or economic starting points.

“These findings affirm America’s history. Immigrants are not static in their assimilation. Despite claims to the contrary, history is repeating itself and today’s newcomers are becoming tomorrow’s new Americans,” said Angela M. Kelley, Vice President for Immigration Policy and Advocacy at the Center for American Progress.

The nation’s latest immigrants are following in the footsteps of our ancestors, spreading out across the country and integrating in communities large and small. And 14 states now have foreign-born populations above the national average of 12.5 percent, according to the study.

Many Americans believe immigrants are, like Peter Pan, forever frozen and never advance economically or socially, but “the data on immigrant advancement may be surprising and should help dispel the illogical Peter Pan fallacy,” write the authors.

The report uses key benchmarks such as naturalization to citizenship, homeownership, and earnings to measure assimilation. The assimilation rates can be found here.