If not for immigrants having children, the U.S. population would be shrinking, according to a new report from the Urban Institute.
"Children of immigrants account for nearly one-quarter of all children in the United States. The share is growing as both the number of children of immigrants continues to rise while the number of children of native-born parents falls," the report says.
Vox reported that while the research shows immigrant children keep the population growing, it doesn't mean immigrant parents are having more kids. In fact, both native-born and immigrant women are having fewer children.
The population of immigrant children is growing, simply, because immigrants have younger children than native-born parents — younger meaning they have more children under the age of 18, Vox reports.
"It's another reminder that America's immigrants are saving the country from the population decline facing a lot of the rest of the developed world. But it doesn't justify nativist fears that "they" will keep having more children while "we" keep having fewer," Vox reporter Dara Lind writes.
The report also found that children of immigrants are highly concentrated in six states. More than 60 percent of all immigrant children live in California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois and New Jersey. And in those states, the share of all children who are children of immigrants is growing.
"Children of immigrants compose close to 50 percent of all children in California and dwell over 30 percent in most of the traditional immigration destination states," the report says.
That may be why legislators in those states are trying to tap into the interests of young immigrants, including undocumented immigrants.
California, for instance, proposed a design recently for a driver's license that would be issued to illegal immigrants. But federal authorities rejected the proposal Tuesday because they say the design was not distinguishable enough from permits given to citizens, according to the Los Angeles Times.
comments on this story
The Washington officials want the license to state clearly on its face 'that it is not acceptable for official federal purposes' and to have a design or color that differentiates it at a glance from other licenses," the Times reported. But activists say they view that as a scarlet letter that would promote discrimination.
Immigrant-friendly legislation passed a hurdle in Florida Thursday, where 7 percent of the nation's immigrants live. A new bill would allow children of immigrants in the country illegally to pay in-state tuition to state colleges, the L.A. Times reported. The Times also reported that Latinos comprised 17 percent of the electorate in Florida in 2012, and many suspect the Republican-sponsored bill is an attempt for Republicans to get the Latino vote.