The Migration Policy Institute , a nonpartisan political think tank in Washington DC, recently released a revealing report on Filipino immigrants in the United States. The report both confirmed my personal assumptions about Filipino immigrants and it also revealed some surprises. I would like to share their five major findings and relate them to my own personal experiences and my own family.
1. Filipino immigrants are growing in numbers. In 2008, Filipinos became the second largest immigrant group in the United States, second only to Mexican immigrants. There are about 1.7 million foreign born from the Philippines.
This Filipino population growth coincides with the growing number of my own extended family coming to the US. My second cousin, Boyet Aldeza, recently immigrated to the US when his brother petitioned to join him in Chicago. See Boyet’s photo above (third from left).
2. The report revealed that almost half of the Filipino immigration population lives in California. Filipino immigrants also make up almost half of all immigrants in Hawaii (see map above). Chicago still ranks in the one of the top 10 cities many Filipinos live which is were all my extended family have decided to settle.
3. In 2008, Many Filipino-born adults have a bachelor’s degree, about 27.1%. This percentage is very similar to the percentage of bachelor’s degree holders among the native born population, about 27.8%.
In fact, a recent New York Times article mentioned the rise of high skilled immigrants including the influx of many highly educated Filipinos to the US. However, this does not mean that Filipinos are better educated than other immigrants groups. The article just reflects the recent US immigration policies that have attracted many college graduates from the Philippines to fill certain high skill jobs lacking in the US. In turn, the massive exodus of highly trained workers is creating a massive brain drain back in the Philippines.
4. In 2008, the Migration Policy Institute report revealed that many Filipino born women reported to be working as nurses. One in every four Filipino women were employed working in the health care industry.
This was no surprise to me. Almost everyone in my family worked as a nurse, nursing assistant, pharmacist, physical therapist, hospital administrator or other related job in the health care industry! In fact, my cousin, Ate Sione Sales is currently reviewing to pass the US nursing board exam.
5. The number of Filipino undocumented immigrants to the US has also risen to 270,000, about 2 percent of the total undocumented immigrants of about 10.8 million. The undocumented immigrants, called TNT in the Filipino vernacular, are part of every Filipino family. The mixed status of many families is the norm.
In conclusion, this report confirmed many of the assumptions that I knew just by looking at the makeup of my own extended family. At the same time the report revealed new insights on the growing Filipino population in the US.