Priority Populations

Children in Immigrant Families – The U.S. and 50 States: Economic Need Beyond the Official Poverty Measure

This Research Brief from Child Trends and The Center for Social and Demographic Analysis at the University of Albany, SUNY, finds that nearly one-half of children in immigrant families live in poverty when basic living and child care costs are taken into account.  Drawing on Census 2000 data, it examines differences in the poverty rates between children in immigrant families and children in native-born families.

Researchers Donald J. Hernandez, Nancy A Denton, and Suzanne Macartney argue that the official poverty rate substantially understates economic needs of children, particularly those living in immigrant families.  They calculated two alternative measures, a Baseline Basic Budget Poverty measure, and a Baseline Basic Budget Poverty Plus measure. When these alternatives are used, the rate of poverty is much higher than indicated by the prevailing official U.S. poverty measure.

The authors recommend changes in public policies and programs.