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More education means more jobs for local immigrants

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Local,DC,Maryland,Matt Connolly,Prince Georges County

As immigrants pour into the Washington region, more are able to find jobs and settle down thanks to their high levels of education.

"We have a more diverse group of immigrants than nationally, with a lower share from Latin America, a lower share that are unauthorized and most importantly a higher education than really any other metropolitan area," said Randy Capps, a senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute. "We all know that Washington, D.C., is about the best-educated metropolitan area generally -- that pattern is exaggerated slightly more with the immigrant population."

Capps added that the area has traditional flows of immigrants from Africa and Southeast Asia, particularly India.

Both groups tend to be better-educated than immigrants from Central American and South American countries, he said.

"You start at the top with diplomats, but you've got a second tier which is a huge number of foreign-born doctors and scientists," Capps said. "In general you have a general high demand for high-end services here in D.C."

Poverty rates for Asians have dropped in the District and every neighboring county from 2000 to 2011, according to census data. Hispanics in D.C. and Prince George's County experienced a similar drop -- the number of D.C. Hispanics under the poverty line dropped from 8,968 in the 2000 census to an average of 7,628 people between 2007 and 2011.

"You have a bifurcated minority population growing in these suburbs," said Roderick Harrison, a sociology professor at Howard University, explaining that growth in well-educated immigrants can lead to more jobs for the heavily Hispanic blue-collar labor force. "That's what's driving it."

- Matt Connolly

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