Between 2006 and 2011, growth in the U.S. population of children ages 0 to 17 was entirely due to growth in the number of children born to at least one immigrant parent. Over these 5 years, the population of children of immigrants grew 1.5 million, from 15.7 to 17.2 million. Nationally, the population of children of native-born parents fell slightly over this time period, from 55.6 to 55.0 million.
In North Carolina, these trends are slightly different. Though the population of children of immigrants grew more than the population of children of native-born parents, both populations grew between 2006 and 2011. The population of children of immigrants in the state increased by 113,000, from 257,000 to 370,000. Over this same time period, the population of children born to native parents increased by 48,000, rising from 1.82 million to 1.87 million.
In 2006, children of immigrants comprised 14% of North Carolina’s population of children; in 2011, they were 20% of all children. Because nearly half (49%) of immigrants to the state are Hispanic, and an additional twenty percent are Asian, these trends contribute to the changing racial/ethnic composition of North Carolina.
The chart below shows the distribution of race and ethnicity in the 2012 American Community Survey for North Carolina’s children and adults. Just over half (54%) of North Carolina’s children were non-Hispanic white in 2012, compared to more than two-thirds (68%) of North Carolina’s adult population. The biggest differences between children and adults are the proportion of Hispanics (14% v. 7%) and those who are some other race or multi-racial (6% v. 2%).