Nearly one in four young, foreign-born Connecticut residents not citizens

Washington – A new U.S. Census Bureau report says nearly one in four young immigrants, or about 118,000 people in Connecticut, are not U.S. citizens.

In numbers of non-citizens under the age of 35, Connecticut is behind some states with higher immigrant populations, including Texas, California, New York and Florida.

But Connecticut has more young non-citizen residents than 24 other states including Vermont, New Hampshire, Delaware and Rhode Island — and, on a percentage basis, even New Jersey.

The Census Bureau reported that non-citizens counted in its survey have both legal and non-legal status.

“Non-citizens include legal permanent residents, temporary migrants, unauthorized immigrants and other resident statuses,” a statement from the Census Bureau said.

It used sampling of the U.S. population through the American Community Survey to determine how many non-citizens live in the nation and in each state. But the survey, conducted between 2010 and 2012, did not include a question on the legal status of the non-citizen residents.

“This brief gives an overview of some common characteristics of the younger, non-citizen population,” said Elizabeth Grieco, chief of the Census Bureau’s Foreign-Born Population Branch. “The statistics provide new insight into the composition of this unique group.”

The Census also reported that nearly one-third of the 2.6 million non-citizens aged 18 to 24 living in the United States were enrolled in college. Among 18- to 24-year-old non-citizens born in Asia, 65 percent were enrolled in college; followed by those born in Europe, 54 percent; Africa, 54 percent; and the Latin America and Caribbean — the region providing the most immigration – 18 percent.

Of the 40.5 million foreign born people in the United States, both citizens and non-citizens, the majority came from Latin America and the Caribbean (53 percent), followed by Asia (29 percent), Europe (12 percent), Africa (4 percent) and other regions (3 percent,)

The Census also discovered more information about the education gap in the nation’s non-citizen population.

Some 49 percent of non-citizens aged 25 to 34 from Latin America had not graduated from high school, while over half of the foreign born from Asia and Europe had attained a bachelor’s degree or higher (68 percent and 54 percent, respectively).

Jeffrey Passel, the senior demographer at the Pew Research Center, said the reason for the discrepancy is that “a very large share of the Latino immigrants are unauthorized and are coming here for low-status, low-wage jobs.”

“Meanwhile, a lot of the people from Asia and Europe are here on legal work or study visas that require advanced education,” Passel said.

Many of those who come here as legal immigrants eventually become citizens, Passel said.

But there are discrepancies among immigrant populations in that, too.

About 40 percent of legal Mexican immigrants eventually become citizens, Passel said, while 70 percent to 75 percent of Asian immigrants become citizens.

It takes at least six years for a legal immigrant to apply for citizenship.

The Census report also said there are 487,000 foreign-born people in Connecticut, out of a total population of about 3.6 million.

Brian Perchal of UConn’s Connecticut State Data Center, said the number of foreign-born in the state is growing.

According to an American Community Survey study conducted in 2012, Connecticut is home to 32,139 people born in India, 28,037 people born in Poland and 16,416 immigrants from Canada.

But the region that provides the state with the most immigrants, nearly 200,000, is Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Census counted nearly 25,000 immigrants from Mexico, 15,000 from Brazil, nearly 18,000 from Ecuador and about 15,000 from the Dominican Republic.

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