Children made up a “relatively small share” of the 25.3 million foreign and U.S.-born people with limited English proficiency residing within the United States in 2011, according to a new study by the Migration Policy Institute.
The study charts the tremendous growth of the population, which is about 63 percent Latino. About 9 percent of the LEP population, or 2.3 million children, fell between the ages 5 to 15 category. This corresponds with about 16 percent of the English-dominant population falling within the same age bracket.
As study after study has found, most English Language Learners in American schools are U.S. citizens. About 74 percent of LEP children ages 5 to 17 were born in the United States.
LEP individuals also made up about 9 percent of the population ages five and older in 2011, having grown by 81 percent since 1990. They made up about half of the total immigrant population in the U.S. About one out of every five people in California were LEP, with the next largest population in Texas (both states also have public school populations that are majority-Latino).
The data may be more instructive on immigrant parents. About 10.9 million children ages 5 to 17 had at least one parent who was LEP.
Most of the male LEP population was found to work in fields such as construction and transportation, while working women worked in service and personal care jobs. Indeed, LEP adults were less likely to have college degrees and more likely to live in poverty.
Although the data does not solely focus on children, it provides some good context for articles focusing on the demographics of the LEP population.