March 28, 2023

WASHINGTON (August 17, 2010) – The Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy today launched a new resource, an ELL (English Language Learner) Information Center that offers videos, data and maps that chronicle the growth and academic performance of the ELL student population across the United States.

The ELL Information Center offers videos, fact sheets and other data that trace the rapid growth of ELL students – native-born and immigrant – as well as their performance on standardized tests. The data offerings are national as well as state-by-state.


Fact Sheet on Size and Growth of ELL Students

Fact Sheet on States with Highest Number and Share of ELLs

“More than 5 million children – representing nearly 11 percent of the students enrolled in U.S. public schools – are English language learners,” said Margie McHugh, co-director of MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy.

“As immigrants have moved beyond traditional gateway states such as California, Texas and New York, and as No Child Left Behind Act provisions have made schools responsible for the progress of ELLs, school districts across the United States are having to develop educational services for this fast-growing group almost overnight,” she added.

In a series of fact sheets and a pair of videos, MPI discusses:

• The increase in the number of students classified as ELLs, which has risen from 3.5 million in 1998 to more than 5 million in 2008, as total enrollment remained basically flat.

• The growing share children of immigrants represent of the nation’s total child population, rising from 13.5 percent in 1990 to 25 percent today. Half of all children in California are from immigrant families. Reflecting immigrants’ dispersal across the United States, more than a third of all children in Nevada have at least one parent who is an immigrant, as do almost one-quarter of children in Washington state and Rhode Island.

• Today, half of all ELL students are kindergarten and elementary school age, and the other half are roughly split between middle and high school age. Over three-quarters of ELLs of elementary school age were born in the United States.

• ELL students are graduating at substantially lower rates than their non-ELL peers. In Texas, for example, 39 percent of ELLs received high school diplomas, compared to 78 percent of all students.

“While existing data on high school graduation rates are certainly not heartening, many local districts and schools are succeeding in helping ELL students graduate in four to seven years and realize their higher education and career dreams,” said MPI Senior Vice President Michael Fix, who is co-director of the National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy.

“By offering up the latest research and information about ELL students and their academic performance, we hope to inform the efforts of policymakers, educators and community stakeholders across the country who are grappling with how to best serve the interests of these children and the larger communities in which they live,” said McHugh.

The ELL Information Center is at

Additional fact sheets offered in the coming months will cover topics such as the top languages spoken by ELL students, their performance on state and national standardized tests and a demographic profile of their families.

The videos can be downloaded from the ELL Information Center. Educators, community organizations or others wanting to obtain copies of the videos for airing can contact MPI Communications at [email protected].

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