Celebrating the Fourth of July in California
Jul 03, 2012
As Director of the California Democracy program, Amy leads strategies aimed at i
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As we gather this week to see fireworks and enjoy picnics, we also might pause to reflect on what it means to celebrate the Fourth of July in California. In many ways, our state epitomizes the vision of America: a land of immigrants, a place of opportunity, an openness to change and innovation. While the state of California possesses the diversity — in people, landscapes and economies — of a large country, we’re also a place with residents who share many of the same aspirations and values.
A recent series of reports, Looking Forward, from USC’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) and the California Immigrant Policy Center provide an interesting snapshot of California’s population. I was struck by two facts in particular: 48% of California’s children have at least one immigrant parent and 43% of Californians speak a language other than English at home. It’s also notable that immigrants comprise more than one-third of California’s labor force (34%), they are more likely to be employed than non-immigrants, and they are more likely to create their own jobs through self-employment than native born workers.
On a related topic, CSII’s new report on young adult immigrants engaged in civic organizations reveals that they share the educational and employment aspirations of other young Californians, while expressing greater optimism about their own potential to “make a difference in the broader society” through their civic involvement.
As we celebrate where we live this month, it seems our trademark optimism and entrepreneurial spirit not only endure, but also regenerate.