Data Tracker

Indians, Filipinos earn most income among California immigrants

By Phillip Reese - preese@sacbee.com

Immigrants line up at a California Department of Motor Vehicles office to register for drivers licenses in Stanton, Calif., Friday, Jan. 2, 2015.
Immigrants line up at a California Department of Motor Vehicles office to register for drivers licenses in Stanton, Calif., Friday, Jan. 2, 2015. AP

For California immigrants, place of birth often predicts household wealth.

Californians born in India earned a median household income of $110,000 in 2013. By comparison, Californians born in Mexico earned a median household income of $40,000, according to a Bee review of U.S. Census data.

Californians born in the Philippines, England or France earned median household incomes of at least $80,000.

Median household income for all Californians regardless of birthplace was roughly $61,000 in 2013. For all immigrant California households, it was about $51,000.

Education is the biggest predictor of income by nationality.

Almost 80 percent of California householders born in India have at least a bachelor's degree, compared to fewer than 10 percent of California householders born in Mexico.

Length of time in California matters, too.

California has recently seen an influx of Iraqis fleeing war and persecution. Those new Californians tend to have lower household incomes.

The median household income is the middle figure in a ranked list of incomes.

Remember, there are always exceptions: Roughly 160,000 households headed by Californians born in Mexico earned more than $100,000 in 2013. And about 14,000 households headed by Californians born in India earned less than $20,000 that year.

This chart shows median household income for Californian immigrants, broken down by nation of birth.

Source: 2013 US Census Bureau American Community Survey, Public Use Microdata Sample | Data via Minnesota Population Center

Notes: Data based on sampling and subject to sampling error. The smaller the population, the larger the sampling error. Put simply: If countries shown above have incomes close to one another - say, Vietnam and Italy -- there may not be a statistically significant difference between them.

Place of birth shown represents birthplace of the person listing himself/herself as "householder" on census forms. In other words, these are "first-generation" immigrants. Subsequent generations may make more or less income.

Former USSR excludes Baltic states. England includes Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Dot representing size of Mexican population shrunk to avoid overlap of other dots. The number of Californians born in Mexico is five times greater than the number of Californians born in China.

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