US immigrants' kids almost as well off as natives: study

Second-generation immigrants in the United States are far better off than their parents and almost as well-placed as the offspring of native-born Americans, a study found Thursday.

The average annual household income for US-born children of immigrants stands at $58,100, significantly better than the $45,800 of adult immigrants not born in the US, and close to the $58,200 average for all US adults.

According to a report by the Pew Research Center, 36 percent have degrees and 64 percent own a home, compared to 29 percent and 51 percent respectively for their parents, and 31 percent and 65 percent for the average American.

The research was based on data from the 2010 US Census. At the time, an estimated 40 million foreigners lived in the United States, including legal residents as well as temporary and undocumented refugees.

Immigrants are also increasingly learning more English. About 93 percent of second-generation Hispanic immigrants said they could converse in English well or very well, a big jump from 48 percent for their parents.

Among Asian immigrants, 92 percent said they speak English well or very well, up from 77 percent for their parents.

"The second generations of both groups are much more likely than the immigrants to speak English, to have friends and spouses outside their ethnic or racial groups, to say their group gets along well with others and to think of themselves as a 'typical American,'" the report said.

The study was released just as the US Congress is on the cusp of launching a debate on immigration reform pushed by President Barack Obama, who wants a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.