In this brief authors Andrew Schaefer and Marybeth Mattingly use American Community Survey five-year estimates to document demographic and economic characteristics of the immigrant and native-born populations in the United States by metropolitan status. They focus on a wide range of demographic and economic indicators that relate to immigrants’ ability to assimilate and thrive in rural America. They report that compared to the native-born rural population, rural immigrants are more likely to be of working age (18–64), are more racially and ethnically diverse, are less educated, and are more likely to have children. Working rural immigrants are nearly twice as likely as rural native-born workers to be poor. Roughly 97.5 percent of rural immigrants who are citizens speak at least some English, compared to just 84.2 percent of rural immigrants who are not citizens. Citizens are also far less likely to be poor and are almost twice as likely to have a college degree. Their findings on the working poor suggest that economic stability is out of reach for many rural immigrants, particularly those without U.S. citizenship.

Publication Date

Fall 10-6-2016


National Issue Brief No. 106


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



Copyright 2016. Carsey School of Public Policy. These materials may be used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, contact the copyright holder.





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