According to a new study from the National Foundation for American Policy, 83% of the finalists of the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search were the children of immigrants. The competition is organized each year by the Society for Science & The Public and is designed to recognize America’s next generation of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians. There are 40 finalists in total.
30 out of 40 of last year’s finalists had parents who worked in America on H-1B visas and later became green card holders and U.S. citizens. Only seven children had both parents born in the United States. To put that astounding number in perspective, less than 1% of the U.S. population is H-1B visa holders.
68% percent of the children had a parent who came to America as an international student and 7.5% had parents who came to America as family-sponsored immigrants. Of the 40 finalists, 14 had parents both born in India, 11 had parents both born in China, and seven had parents both born in the United States.
The evidence has profound implications that the children of immigrants are having increasing influence on science in America. Seven of nine of the top awards were earned by the children of immigrants, including first place prizes for innovation and basic research. One even developed a software that could be utilized by pharmaceutical companies to combat cancer.