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Immigrants and Education

Immigrants and Education

Migration remains a hot political topic in Europe and the United States. Immigration opponents often portray migrants as, among other things, poorly educated people who will become an economic burden on their new homelands. Look closer. (Full disclosure: Your Friday author is blessed to have married his way into a remarkable family who arrived in the US as immigrants.)


  • According to a recent Pew Research study, the average immigrant from sub-Saharan Africa has more years of education than the average citizen of the US or European community in which he or she settles. (Italy is the exception.) Nearly 70 percent of African immigrants over 25 who live in the US had some college experience.
  • Beyond Africans, a 2017 Pew Research study reported that a higher percentage (31 percent) of all immigrants to the US have either a university or graduate degree than do native-born Americans (30 percent).
  • The emphasis on education extends across generations. A 2015 report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine found that a higher percentage of the children of college-educated immigrants earn graduate degrees and get top-tier jobs than the children of native-born Americans.
  • An important caveat: immigrant education levels vary considerably by region. Some 57 percent of immigrants from Mexico and 49 percent of immigrants from Central America have not graduated high school. The comparable figures are 13 percent from the Middle East, 11 percent from Europe and Canada, and 12 percent from Sub-Saharan Africa. Just 9 percent of US-born adults lack a high school degree.

Immigrants and their children can contribute more to their adopted countries and their economies than some seem to think.

Now that Joe Biden is officially US president, leaders from around the world would like a word with him — but where will he make his first international trip?

After a tumultuous four years, many countries are now clamoring for a face-to-face with President Biden. That includes allies who felt abandoned by Trump's "America First" presidency, as well as adversaries with thorny issues on the agenda. We check in on who's pitching him hardest on a near-term state visit.

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Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his insights on what to expect from President Biden's first 100 days:

It's Inauguration Day. And you can see behind me the Capitol Building with some of the security corridor set up that's preventing people like me from getting too close to the building, as Joe Biden gets sworn in as our 46th president. Historic day when you consider that you've got Kamala Harris, the first woman vice president, the first woman of color to be vice president.

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On Wednesday, Joe Biden will become president because eighty-one million Americans, the highest tally in US history, voted to change course after four years of Donald Trump's leadership. Like all presidents, Biden and his vice president, Kamala Harris, take office with grand ambitions and high expectations, but rarely has a new administration taken power amid so much domestic upheaval and global uncertainty. And while Biden has pledged repeatedly to restore American "unity" across party lines — at a time of immense suffering, real achievements will matter a lot more than winged words.

Biden has a lot on his agenda, but within his first 100 days as president there are three key issues that we'll be watching closely for clues to how effectively he's able to advance their plans.

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Kamala Harris was sworn in today as the first woman Vice President of the United States. That means she's only a heartbeat away from occupying the Oval Office — and could well be the Democratic candidate to replace Joe Biden if the 78-year-old president decides to not run for reelection in 2024. Should Harris — or another woman — become US president soon in the future, that'll (finally) put America on par with most of the world's top 20 economies, which have already had a female head of state or government at some point in their democratic history. Here we take a look at which ones those are.

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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