Students from immigrant households make up 6 percent of the public school population in Muscogee and Chattahoochee Counties, according to statistics released by a national organization.
The top two countries of origin are Korea and Panama, with 26 percent and 23 percent of immigrants coming from those countries, respectively.
The poverty rate for students in immigrant households was lower than those in native households at 28 and 32 percent, respectively.
The statistics were released by the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative, nonprofit research organization that favors the lowering of immigration numbers in the United States. The center merged Census Bureau data with Google maps to provide a visual representation of the impact of immigration on public schools at the local level in every state and metropolitan area. The analysis is based on Public Use Micro Areas (PUMAs), which average 20,600 students.
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The Muscogee and Chattahoochee school districts were coupled together on the map and identified as the West Central River Valley Regional Commission.
About 11 percent of the immigrant students speak a foreign language at home; 46 percent speak Spanish, and 15 percent speak Spanish.
The percentage of immigrant children in local public schools was relatively low compared to many other areas throughout the country.
There are 32,853 students in the MCSD, according to the school district’s website. Of the total, 10,352 are white, 18,738 are black, 640 are Asian, 79 are American Indian/Alaska Native, 19 are Hispanic, 2,998 are two or more races.
However, almost one out of four (23 percent) public school students in America came from an immigrant household in 2015, according to the report. As recently as 1990, it was 11 percent and in 1980 it was just 7 percent.
“The findings show that the number of students from immigrant households is so large in many areas that it raises profound questions about assimilation,” according to a news release issued by the center. “Immigration has also added significantly to the number of students in poverty and the number who speak a foreign language, creating significant challenges for many schools.”