Indian-born mothers are the most educated and highest earning migrant mothers in the US

The most educated and well-off migrant mothers in the US are from India.
The most educated and well-off migrant mothers in the US are from India.
Image: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui
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When it comes to education and family income, Indian-born mothers are the most well off compared to migrant mothers from other countries and territories in the US.

A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that migrant mothers in the US from Asia were much more likely to have college degrees and earn more than those from central and Latin America. Indian mothers, who gave birth to the third-highest number of babies among foreign-born mothers in 2014, were by far the best educated and belonged to families with the highest median income.

Nearly nine in 10 Indian-born women with newborns in the US in 2014 held a bachelor’s degree. China was second on the list, with 60% of new mothers residing in the US holding a bachelor’s degree.

“The Indian case is particularly extreme–none of the other top-sending countries come close in terms of the share of new moms with a bachelor’s degree,” the report noted.

The study clearly showed the value of higher education among these groups. The annual median family income for Indian-born mothers was $104,500—about 40% higher than the next top earning migrant group, and more than double the median family income of US-born mothers. People coming from America’s neighboring countries—Mexico, Puerto Rico, Honduras, and others—are not crossing the borders with the same high levels of education, and, in turn, are earning far less.

Predictably, these less educated and lower earnings groups also face more extreme cases of poverty. For instance, 49% of the mothers who hail from Honduras were living in poverty, while only 4% of Indian-born mothers faced the same adversity—the least among all surveyed countries.

Aside from being more highly educated, Indian-born mothers tend to belong to steadier family structures. Single mothers are more likely to be in poverty than families with married couples, and less than 1% of Indian-born mothers in the US were unmarried. By comparison, 66% of women native to Honduras with newborns were single mothers.