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Majority of English-Learner Students Are Born in the United States, Analysis Finds

The majority of English-language learners in U.S. K-12 schools were born in the United States, according to an analysis from the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute.

The institute's analysis of U.S. Census data found that 82 percent of prekindergarten to 5th grade English-learners and 65 percent of 6th and 12th grade English-learners are U.S.-born.

The data included children ages 5 to 17 who live with at least one parent. The decision to rely on that set of numbers may have excluded sizable portions of the nation's K-12 ELL population, namely older English-learner students with interrupted formal education and some undocumented students, including unaccompanied minors separated from parents and other family.Capture U.S.- and Foreign-Born ELLs.PNG

The analysis identifies 2.2 million limited English proficient residents between the ages of 5 and 17. That's less than half the number of English-learners that the U.S. Department of Education estimates attended public elementary and secondary schools during the 2013-14 school year.

The U.S.- and foreign-born children grow up learning English in school while also hearing and speaking one of more than 350 languages used in the United States at home; the analysis found that speakers of Spanish, Chinese, and Tagalog account for roughly 70 percent of the overall population of immigrants and U.S. natives using a language other than English at home.

The federal education department data indicates that Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese are the top three home languages for English-language learners in the nation's public schools.

Overall, the Migration Policy Institute analysis found that more than half of U.S. residents who spoke a foreign language in 2015 were also English-proficient.

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Spanish, Arabic, Chinese Are the Top Home Languages for ELLs in U.S. Schools

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How Long Does it Take ELLS to Develop English Proficiency?

Image Source: Migration Policy Institute

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