Blog entry by Lily Johnson
Nowadays, there are 50 million immigrants in the United States, which is one-sixth of the US population. Therefore, immigrants have already become a significant part of the American society, which influences the development of the country. Moreover, the investigation of immigrants’ issues enables to implement appropriate and effective immigrant policies, which is of vital importance for the protection of the country from those immigrants who enter the country without reasonable aims and begin to parasitize in the society. Immigration policy determines such aspects as selection criteria, a number of immigrants allowed to enter the country, and financial resources spent on the fight against illegal penetration in the country. Though the US government pays thorough attention to the immigration policy, it is necessary to outline that immigrants show a high level of education and social mobility. It means that most immigrants make a positive and essential contribution to the economic development of the United States and play an important role in social life.
Education is an important factor in immigrant’s life because the poverty level, health care facilities, language knowledge, and income rate are tightly connected with it. According to the statistics, the number of unemployed immigrants without high school education is three times higher than that of Americans with the same educational level. Those immigrants who have only a high school education are twice more likely to live under the poverty line. However, immigrants who have at least a college degree have a lower poverty level than Americans do. Therefore, the level of education is one of the key determinants of further economic success of immigrants. In comparison to the situation in the past decades, modern immigrants show higher interest in higher education. According to statistics, 41% of the recently arrived immigrants received at least a bachelor’s degree, which makes them the most educated immigrants among those who have ever come to the United States. The number of educated immigrants is twice higher than it used to be in 1970. It means that modern immigrants have clearer aims of their entrance to the United States. The desire of having a degree in the United States is a bright evidence of real immigrants’ attention. Many young people outside the United States come to the country with a strong desire to achieve success. In such a case, American dream is a thing that helps the American society to attract ambitious and talented persons from the entire world. Though the number of the US-born adults with a bachelor’s degree has also increased, the newly arrived immigrants are still much more likely to have a degree, and this gap is currently at the highest point. In 1970, a number of immigrants with a bachelor’s degree was 9% higher than the US-born adults. In 1990, the situation changed, and the gap between immigrants and native was decreased to 6%.
However, the investigation of 2013 year showed 12 points advantage of college completion by immigrants. At the same time, about 23% of newly arrived have not completed the high school. Even though this is a high rate, it is still better than it was in 1970, when the number of immigrants without completion of high school was twice higher than now. At the beginning of 2000, the gap in the completion of a high school was 18 points in favor of US-born adults but then narrowed to 13 points in 2013.
There are some factors that positively affected such an improvement of the education among immigrants. First, it is necessary to outline that there are many newly arrived immigrants from different parts of Asian regions. These immigrants have a good educational background, which helps them to receive bachelor’s degree in the United States successfully. Moreover, immigrants from Asian regions have some specific features of their mentality. They are generally hard working and diligent in their studying. Therefore, they have a serious attitude to the educational process and do their best to achieve success in a chosen area of studying. There are also many immigrants from Central and South America, who are different from Asian immigrants. Their luggage of knowledge is usually not as good as Asian immigrants’ one, but they still attempt to receive the degree. Therefore, education is a tool of further prosperity for immigrants. Those who understand it try to focus on their education and benefit from such a choice in the future.
According to statistics, newly arrived college graduates are relatively successful. The level of their income is almost the same as that of Americans, which shows the ability of immigrants to adapt to the US social environment and to compete with Americans on equal base. Though the level of poverty is high, it is also similar to the natives. Therefore, the level of poverty among immigrants is not caused by the bad quality of gained education. Generally, recently arrived immigrants have positive perspectives in the United States. Moreover, the rate of poverty or welfare is not the evidence of immigrants’ failure. These rates are unavoidable realities of social life. However, education remains a basic precondition for economic and financial prosperity in the US society.
There is also another factor that explains the significance of immigrants’ role in the United States. Not only economic, historical, and cultural experience of immigrants but also the further residence of the family members throughout the country helped them to become an irreplaceable element of the American society. The rapid splash of immigration in recent years increased the foreign-born share of the population from 4.7% in 1970 to 12.7% in 2003. Therefore, it is expected that by 2050 the number of second-generation immigrants will significantly increase. It is supposed that social mobility of immigrants is a relatively quick process, which takes up to two generations to fully integrate immigrants in the American society. However, the process of the entire assimilation of immigrants into the American culture is not beneficial for the US economy. The difference of immigrants from Americans helps to fill the gaps of insufficient features, qualities, or skills that Americans do not have. On the other hand, a failure of cultural assimilation of immigrants may lead to dangerous ethnic or religious conflicts that may threaten safety and peace in the society. Therefore, it is necessary to find a balance in the management of social mobility of immigrants.
One of the important conditions for social mobility is the process of immigrants’ adaptation to the new environment. It includes the acceptance of an American approach to education, work, religion, and language skills. These aspects, subsequently, influence the economic status of an individual from the perspective of social mobility opportunities. Immigrants face two main problems during their life in the United States. The first one is that average immigrant workers receive insufficient payment in comparison to native-born employees. The second one is that the first generation in the United States varies significantly in their income and financial possibilities. Therefore, economic aspect is one of the factors that determine social mobility process of immigrants.
The ethnic background of a person also has an impact on social mobility. According to different research studies, about 20-40% of the parents’ skills are further transmitted to their children. Due to this fact, it is assumed that the range of skills that the next generation may have depends not only on the sphere of parents’ engagement but also on the environment in which a person exists from the outset. A child raised by parents who have a college degree is more likely to receive the same degree than a child raised by parents who only finished a high school. Therefore, it is possible to observe the changes in working skills of two generations. The following graph shows the correlation between the average working skills of men of two generation. Moreover, the graph contains information about age-adjusted relative wage of immigrant workers (horizontal axis) and age-adjusted relative wage of the second generation (vertical axis). As it follows from the graph, if the representatives of the first generation succeeded economically, so did the second generation.
In conclusion, it is necessary to say that the American society is impossible to imagine without immigrants. This group of the society is large enough and influences various spheres of the country’s life. Therefore, issues connected with immigrants should be taken into account, as there is a direct connection between them and other elements of social life. To become active members of social life, immigrants undergo the process of adaptation to the American style of life and the process of assimilation into the US culture. Education and rate of social mobility are those tools that help to reach the aim. Therefore, more and more immigrants enter higher educational establishments. Despite the wide range of obstacles, immigrants also manage to develop their social mobility, which helps them to become the part of the American society. Overall, there are many factors, on which the life of immigrants in the United States depends. They include the political, social, and economic climate of the country. However, immigrants show their strength in the overcoming of all the difficulties. Such an approach helps immigrants to become prosperous and successful members of the American society.
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