Ohio's Immigrants Have a Higher Rate of Education Than in the Rest of the Country


While some parts of the country have taken strong stands against purportedly “illegal” immigration, to the point of sometimes appearing hostile to immigrants in general, Ohio and much of the Midwest have adopted an attitude of welcome. Studies conducted in the past few years have demonstrated that immigrants have a great deal to offer local and state economies, and Ohio’s immigrant community has quite a bit to offer the state.

The United States Census Bureau released a report earlier in February examining the percentage of people in America with college degrees and higher. It found that, as of March 2011, the percentage of Americans age twenty-five years and up with at least a bachelor’s degree is the highest it has ever been, exceeding thirty percent. According to the Dayton Business Journal, this data came to the attention of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio, which decided to take a closer look at the numbers. The results are intriguing.

As of 2009, which is the most recent year for which data are available for individual states, twenty-four percent of Ohio adults age 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher. This percentage was, at the time, four percentage points below the national average.

Nationwide, twenty-seven percent of immigrants in the United States had at least a bachelor’s degree at that time, slightly lower than the number for U.S.-born individuals. In Ohio, the number among immigrants was thirty-nine percent, almost a complete reversal of the figures for the rest of the country. The Association’s president accounted for this by pointing out that immigrants do not enter the United States via Ohio. Immigrants coming to Ohio, therefore, are more likely to do so deliberately rather than out of opportunity. Employers like Honda’s Ohio-based American branch and educational institutions that attract students from around the world account for much of the influx of educated immigrants.

Ohio has made several efforts to reach out to immigrants to encourage them to move to, and invest in, the state. This Immigration Visa Lawyer Blog reported last year about the City of Dayton’s proclamation that it is “immigrant-friendly.” Dayton’s City Commission voted unanimously last October to enact a plan to make the city welcoming to immigrants who want to invest and start businesses. We also reported on efforts by Ohio business leaders to attract international entrepreneurs to the state, offering assistance to foreigners who want to apply for immigrant visas as foreign investors. Ohio leaders hope that attracting immigrant workers and business owners will stimulate the state’s and the region’s economy.

Other parts of the Midwest are also working to attract immigrants. NPR recently reported on efforts by business leaders in Detroit to bring in investors and promote business development in the city’s Hispanic and Arab immigrant communities. A Brookings Institute researcher interviewed by NPR says that most immigrants now entering the United States go to the South or Southwestern U.S., or to Chicago. The immigrants who go to the rest of the Midwest tend to be more highly educated largely because of the region’s welcoming attitude.

The United States immigration system is often complicated and confusing. For a free and confidential consultation with a skilled and experienced Ohio immigration visa lawyer, contact Gus Shihab online or at (800) 625-3404 today.

More Blog Posts

Nigerian Man Who Settled in Columbus Decades Ago Becomes a Citizen, Immigration Visa Lawyer Blog, February 23, 2011
Study Shows H-1B IT Workers are Better Paid and More Educated, Immigration Visa Lawyer Blog, February 15, 2012
Kansas Bill Would Give Jobs to Undocumented Immigrants, Immigration Visa Lawyer Blog, February 6, 2012
Photo credit: By The McClouds from Chicago ‘burbs, USA (New welcome mat from my parents) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons