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U.S. native born, foreign born have different racial profiles

Posted by Elena del Valle on January 25, 2010

A mother and her daughter enjoy an embrace

Photo: U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office (PIO)

Native born Americans are people who are born in the United States and its territories or born of one or both parents who are United States citizens. Naturalized Americans are foreign born although their children, whether they are born in the United States or abroad, may claim United States citizenship. In 2007, one out of eight residents (38.1 million people out of a total population of 301 million) of the United States was foreign born. In contrast to the last 40 years when most immigrants haled predominantly from Europe, in 2007, 80 percent of all foreign born residents was born in Latin America or Asia.

While the majority of the native born, 78 percent, was White only 46 percent of the foreign born self reported their race as White. The second largest racial group among the foreign born was Asian, 23 percent; and Some Other Race was the final group with 21 percent. Looking at it another way, the race with the highest proportion of foreign born was Asian with 67 percent, followed by Some Other Race (43 percent), and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (24 percent).

Foreign born Mexicans represented the largest subgroup among the foreign born (see Mexico remains top country of origin of foreign born); they reported 53 percent White and 45 Some Other Race. That represents a contrast with Cubans which reported 87 percent White; and people born in Vietnam (99 percent), China and Korea (98 percent), the Philippines (97 percent) and India (94 percent) who reported Asian race.

At the same time 47 percent (18 million people) of the foreign born self reported being of Hispanic ethnicity. Among them 54 percent were White and 43 Some Other Race. More than 75 percent of Hispanic foreign born residents were from Mexico and Central America and 83 percent of those were from Mexico originally.

Forty percent of the 45.4 million Hispanics in the United States was foreign born. Among those the percent that is foreign born varies depending on the country of origin. For example, 40 percent of Mexicans was foreign born; 61 percent of Cubans was foreign born and 66 percent Salvadoreans was born on foreign land.

This data is based on Race and Hispanic Origin of the Foreign-Born Population in the United States: 2007, a report by Elizabeth M. Grieco of the United States Census Bureau released last week.

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