October 10, 2015


Those Assimilating Immigrants (WSJ, Oct. 7, 2015)

Sorry to break the good news to some of our conservative friends, but it turns out that most immigrants to America are assimilating as their forebears did. That's the gist of a new 400-page report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, which looks at everything from English proficiency, education levels and family structure to health, crime and employment.

Here's the money sentence: "Across all measurable outcomes, integration increases over time, with immigrants becoming more like the native-born with more time in the country, and with the second and third generations becoming more like other native-born Americans than their parents were." [...]

The report finds that roughly 85% of America's foreign-born population speak a language other than English at home. For most of these, that language is Spanish. But that's not the whole story. English-language proficiency, it says, may be happening even "faster now" than it did for earlier waves of mainly European immigrants. Today many people arriving already speak English, and second and third generations grow in proficiency.

Even in the large concentration of Mexican Americans in Southern California, by the third generation English has become their main spoken language. Only 4% of this third generation report speaking primarily Spanish at home.

The report also finds that the "increased prevalence of immigrants is associated with lower crime rates--the opposite of what many Americans fear." The incarceration rate for the foreign born is only a fourth of that of the native born.

If only we could deport that early 20th Century wave of immigrants.

Posted by at October 10, 2015 10:08 AM

blog comments powered by Disqus