Mapping New England: Education Levels of Recent Immigrants Mapping New England: Education Levels of Recent Immigrants

March 2, 2015

One of the current challenges for workforce development practitioners nationwide is the integration of immigrant job-seekers into the economy. Historically, it has been difficult for immigrants and refugees to find gainful employment in the United States because of inadequate language skills and lower levels of education.

However, the 2013 American Community Survey data on selected socioeconomic characteristics of foreign-born populations by period of entry paint a different portrait of the newest wave of immigrants both nationally and in New England. Foreign-born individuals who arrived in America after January 1, 2010, are more likely to have higher levels of educational attainment than those who entered between 2000 and 2009. In five of the six New England states, between 60 percent and 70 percent of the newcomers had a bachelor's degree, master's degree, or some college-level training.

The increase in the proportion of higher-skilled foreigners is particularly significant in Connecticut (by 18 percent), Maine (by 11 percent), and Massachusetts (by 8 percent). Since Connecticut and Massachusetts are home to about 87 percent of New England's newest immigrants, the trends have important implications for the regional labor markets. It is also noticable that the sizeable increase in the human capital of New England's foreign-born residents has not translated into pov-erty-rate reductions among this wave of newcomers. In fact, about 25 percent to 30 percent of recent immigrants in each of the six states lives below the federal poverty line, which is on average 10 percent higher than poverty rates among immigrants entering the region in the previous decade.

Chart: Change in Percentage of Immigrants with Higher Education (entry 2010 and later vs. entry in 2000-2009

Map: Percent of Immigrants with Higher Education

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