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New Report Finds More than Four Million Latino Children in the United States Have an Unauthorized Immigrant Parent

October 4, 2017

One in Four Hispanic Children Could Be Affected by Deportations


Contact: Tina Plaza-Whoriskey, Child Trends – tplazawhoriskey@childtrends.org; 240-223-9378


Bethesda, Md. – One in four Hispanic children in the United States has a parent who is an unauthorized immigrant, according to a new brief from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families. The study is the first to estimate the percentage of all U.S. Latino children with at least one unauthorized parent.

Researchers used three independent methodologies to derive estimates, concluding that 25 to 28 percent of Latino children in the United States live with the threat that at least one parent may be deported.

“As our nation considers its immigration policy, it is important to understand the extent to which Latino children are at risk of experiencing parental deportation and the stress, anxiety, and trauma that is associated with it,” said Lina Guzman, PhD, author and co-principal investigator of the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families.

Extensive research has found that safe and stable attachments to parents are critical for children’s healthy development. Children with an unauthorized immigrant parent may experience fear or anxiety that can threaten their well-being and affect their physical and mental health, as well as their development.

“The physical and cognitive development of Latino children is vital to our country,” added Guzman. “By 2060, nearly one-third of the nation’s workforce will be Latino. Yet this study finds that a significant portion—one in four—are at risk of trauma caused by the fear or reality of their parents being deported.”

About the study

Multiple methods were used to determine the proportion of Latino children with an unauthorized immigrant parent each resulted in a similar estimate. One method combined estimates from the Pew Research Center and the Current Population Survey. Another linked statistical information from the Department of Homeland Security and the American Community Survey. Finally, researchers examined and extrapolated data from the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). The SIPP is the only federal, nationally representative survey that directly asks people about their immigration status.

About the Center

The National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families is a hub of research to help programs and policies better serve low-income Hispanics across three priority areas—poverty reduction and economic self-sufficiency, healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood, and early care and education. The Center was established in 2013 by a 5-year cooperative agreement from the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation within the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to Child Trends in partnership with Abt Associates and New York University, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and University of Maryland, College Park.


The views expressed in this press release do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.