One in four of our children born to immigrant mothers
ONE in four children born here in 2012 was born to non-national mothers hailing mostly from EU accession states, Asia and Africa, a new study on Ireland's children of immigrants reveals.
The findings are included in the first-ever study of the children of migrant parents here entitled 'New Irish Families: A profile of Second Generation Children and their Families' by a team of researchers at Trinity College.
Interestingly, the team found that while English was the most commonly spoken language in their homes – even when both parents were not Irish – more than half of the children who had at least one parent from the EU accession states didn't speak English. The most commonly spoken languages in those homes were Polish (66pc), Lithuanian (17pc), Russian (9pc) and Romanian (5pc).
The study also found that mothers born outside Ireland tended to be more highly educated than their Irish counterparts.
Sixty per cent of non-Irish mothers born elsewhere in the EU – excluding the UK – had attained a third level degree or higher while close to half, or 46pc, of Asian mothers had a third level degree compared to just 28pc of Irish mothers.
Yet despite their education, families with at least one parent from the EU accession states, Asia or Africa, were found to be at greater risk of poverty, with lower household incomes and jobs predominantly in semi-skilled or unskilled sectors.
Conversely, families with at least one parent from established EU member states were found to be the most socio-economically advanced group.
The study, led by Trinity College sociologist Antje Roder, was conducted in order to gauge the impact of an influx migrants over the past decade on Irish society in the years to come.
"One of the lasting legacies of the Irish economic boom has been a much more diverse society in terms of nationality, ethnicity and religion," the study said.
The researchers concluded that "significant future work" will be needed in both research and public policy as these children grow older.