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27
Mar

India’s 100 years of filmmaking to be recognized at this year’s Cannes

India film star Freida Pinto has been spotted at past Cannes Film Festivals.

People who send money to India are making a wire transfer so that their kids and family members can live more comfortably. This comfort is not only materially but also for entertainment, as the film industry is solidly supported by Indians who frequent the theater as they immerse themselves in whatever happens to be showing at the cinema.

At the Cannes Film Festival, India will be saluted for having produced thousands of films over the past 100 years.

Each year in France, theater goers and film industry professionals gather at Cannes to celebrate movies in general and also put a spotlight on upcoming film releases throughout the world. The event usually lasts about a week-and-a-half in May. This year, the Cannes Film Festival starts May 15 and ends May 26.

The film festival has been held for more than 65 years in France, and has taken on various formulations and traditions. For example, in 2011, festival organizers honored Egypt for its contributions to the industry and did the same for Brazil last year. In 2013, India will be saluted.

Theirry Fremaux, general delegate for Cannes, noted that India is in an elite class of countries that have produced some of the film trade's best works.

"The Festival de Cannes is delighted to celebrate one of the most important countries in the world of cinema," said Fremaux. "[It is] a country with a prestigious history and tradition, one whose current day and creative impulses are a perennial example of vitality."

What will no doubt be recognized as having a heavy influence on the film world today is India's "Bollywood" culture. This word combines the "B" in Bombai – which was the former name of the country's capital, Mumbai – and Hollywood, which is also a place, but has become synonymous with film because so many movies are shot and produced in the California city.

At least six Indian films to be showcased
According to entertainment news website BollywoodLife, many soon-to-be released Indian films will be spotlighted, such as "The Music Teacher," produced by Sarthak Dasgupta. The thrust of the movie revolves around a school teacher who is preparing to reacquaint himself with a former student of his for the first time in many years. The question is whether the girl, who has gone on to be quite successful in the music world, will still have the strong feelings for him that she had back when she was his pupil.

Another film that's slated to be showcased is Pratim Gupta's "Ink." This story follows a down-on-his-luck journalist, who through happenstance stumbles on a story that could send the show business world into a tailspin.

Then there's Kvanjit Singh's "Television." BollywoodLife notes that this film documents the experiences of three men who are going through different life stages – one who's about to get married, another who's a single-parent of a 3-year-old boy and a senior that's adjusting to retirement and the struggles that can materialize.

The hope – both among Indian film enthusiasts as well as the movie producers who spend years developing them – is that at least one movie will turn out to be so popular that it becomes world-renowned.

If history is any guide, these and other films have an excellent chance. Several Bollywood films have won prestigious awards over the years, including "Neecha Nagar" in 1946, "Amar Bhoopali" in 1951, "Do Bigha Zamin" in 1954 and "Pather Panchali" in 1955. A more recent film to be bestowed with Cannes Camera d'Or award was "Marana Simhasanam," back in 1999.

26
Mar

Poll: Jobs that require top skills satisfied through immigration reform

A greater pool of qualified teachers may come through immigration reform.

Evidenced by rising home values, greater availability of jobs and a steadily declining unemployment rate, the economy is slowly but surely recovering in the U.S. However, a considerable number of Americans believe it could be improving at a more robust pace by enabling businesses to better attract the best employees the world has to offer.

In a recent survey conducted by Zogby Analytics on behalf of the technology firm TechNet, nearly two-thirds of individuals polled said that by reforming certain components of the immigration system, business owners will be able to entice more people who come from overseas to work for them, many of whom may send money to their families back in their native country.

Respondents were particularly receptive to reform for business owners who are in a line of work that requires highly skilled or specially trained workers, such as in the sciences, technology, education or mathematical fields, otherwise known as STEM. In fact, nearly eight in 10 Americans – 77 percent – said that the government needs to commit more invest toward STEM education. More specifically, approximately 60 percent of people in the poll said that the government does not spend what it needs to in providing workers with the resources they need to better take on jobs in the sciences and technological fields.

Rey Ramsey president and CEO of TechNet, noted that American consumers today recognize that there's an abundance of people who live overseas who are more than qualified to fulfill these jobs and one of the best ways of enabling these individuals to access them is by addressing the ease which they can come to the country.

"Americans strongly support smart policies to reform our high skilled immigration system and address the shortage of workers with science, technology, engineering and math skill," said Ramsey. "Most importantly, our citizens are eager for reform and urge Congress to act now."

Delayed immigration reform risks falling behind global competition
Many are worried that failure to reform the immigration system may wind up costing Americans in the long run when it comes to staying ahead of other countries as they make their own economic improvements. For example, the poll found that approximately 43 percent of respondents believe that the country is losing its "innovation edge," saying that the next big invention will likely come from someplace other than the U.S, such as China.

John Zogby, who owns and operates his own polling firm, added that he's witnessed an overwhelming consensus from the public tying innovation to sound immigration policies.

"Americans have adapted to new technologies, see them as the path to growth and prosperity for our future, and favor a wide of policies that support more flexibility in immigration, more focus on technology in our education system, and spending on research that leads to even more innovation," he said.

Currently, people who wish to work in the sciences, or who have specialized skills and expertise, typically turn to H-1B visas in order to come to the country. Recently, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it has begun accepting petitions from foreign residents for the 2014 fiscal year. There is a 65,000 cap on how many people will be able to come to the country with this via. However, the first 20,000 people who file a H-1B petition and who have a master's degree or higher will not count against the cap. This behooves prospective workers to file the necessary paperwork as soon as possible.

19
Mar

Minorities saving more for their kids’ future

New research shows that many African Americans, Hispanics and Asians are saving for their own medical costs that their kids can use to help pay for them.

Whether people send money abroad or to a family member that lives within the U.S., they often do so because they love them and want them to live more comfortably. And as a new study shows, many minorities today are also putting more of their money away for their loved ones to use at a later time so that they won't have to worry about medical expenses once they get older and are in need of care.

The report, which was conducted jointly by the State Farm Center for Women and Financial Services as well as the American College of Financial Services, found that six in 10 women of color save money for retirement, primarily so that they won't be a financial burden for their kids should they become infirm in their latter years.

What was particularly noteworthy was the way in which women are saving and how they saved depending on their ethnic background and economic status. For example, the report found that Asian women who earned more than $75,000 per year made saving more of a priority than did women of the same ethnicity but whose annual salary was less.

This shouldn't suggest, however, that people who earn less aren't just as concerned about saving money for their children once they become adults. The poll also found that regardless of personal economic circumstances, women found a variety of ways in which to save money.

Sophia Duffy assistant professor of employee benefits at The American College, noted that defined benefit company pension plans are becoming less frequent number, mainly because employer are cutting them in order to save on costs.

"Personal savings must be encouraged if individuals are to achieve financial security in retirement," said Duffy.

Cost of living heavy load for many minorities
Another potential reason for why many minorities are putting an emphasis on saving for their kids may stem from the cost of living. According to a newly released report, which was conducted jointly by the Poverty and Race Research Action Council as well as the National Low Income Housing Coalition, close to 50 percent of today's African American and Hispanic families face challenges when it comes to housing costs.

Based on cost of living calculations and average salaries, NLIHC indicates that someone who who works at least 30 to 40 hours per week has to earn approximately $19 an hour if they want to rent out a two-bedroom apartment affordably. Housing experts say that, ideally, no more than one-third of an individual's salary should go toward rent costs.

However, approximately 48 percent of African American families do not have the type of income they would need to fulfill this ideal. A similar percentage – 46 percent – of Hispanics face similar financial straits.

Phillip Tegeler, president of the PRRAC, indicated that these results are truly sobering and ought to send a message to legislators that more needs to be done to support hard working Americans who are making less than they're worth.

"Finding affordable housing is a challenge for all low-income Americans, but our analysis demonstrates it is even more burdensome for families of color," said Tegeler. "This should be a wake-up call for the administration and Congress that addressing housing costs, and creating more affordable housing, must be a national priority."

The NLIHC recently released a separate report on how many hours the average person has to work in order to afford an apartment. Some of the best places were in the Midwest – such as North Dakota, South Dakota and Kansas – as low rent rates enabled renters to do more with their money while spending less time on the job.

15
Mar

Colombia city receives international recognition for its innovation

A new award given to Medellin may bring greater Colombia pride among its citizens.

People who send money to Colombia to provide for their families are transferring their money to a country with a city recently deemed the most innovative in the entire world.

In partnership with The Urban Land Institute, global banking firm Citi and business publication The Wall Street Journal declared Medellin, Colombia to be the winner of its annual "City of the Year" competition.

Each year, these organizations field hundreds of thousands of entries from people around the world who submit suggestions for the city they believe to be the most innovative, based on the urban centers that are located in the metro area. The list was narrowed down to 200 cities after organizers for the contest evaluated the various cities' characteristics, such as how efficiently land was used, investments made in economic development, educational successes and human capital investments, infrastructure as well as the potential for future growth.

After much debate, Medellin earned the title, narrowly beating out Tel Aviv and New York City.

Anthony Cenname, publisher of The Wall Street Journal Magazine, said Medellin's recognition as a paragon of innovation and improvement is richly deserved.

"Medellin stands today as an example for many cities around the world, because despite having lived very dark and difficult times 20 years ago, [they] have been undergoing a true metamorphosis," said Cenname. "Going from pain and fear to hope, and now from hope to be a place filled with life, the city has known how to innovate in every step, both in social programs, urban developments or the combination of both and this has been key in the success of this process."

Bernardo Norena, president of Citi Colombia, added that the City of the Year designation does wonders for Medellin's people, as it may encourage more investors to devote their resources toward the city, providing a better life for the country's citizens overall.

Medellin Mayor Anibal Gaviria couldn't be happier about Medellin's coronation, stating recently that the recognition is a "reason for joy on the part of every one of the 2.5 million inhabitants of our city," according to BBC News.

Medellin now seen in more positive light
At one time, Medellin received a considerable amount of press coverage due to having a high crime and drug rate. In 2012, The New York Times published a piece on the annual homicide rate in Medellin, which 20 years ago was 381 for every 100,000 people – one of the highest rates in the world.

But city organizers have been able to deal with the crime issue by implementing sweeping reforms that have enabled officials to crack down on crime and bring a greater sense of safety to the city's 2.7 million inhabitants, according to Census data.

Perhaps the best indication of its safety is how popular the nightlife has become in Medellin. Author and New York Times contributor Henry Alford recently wrote an article about his experience in the metro area that locals like to call "Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera," or the City of the Eternal Spring. He noted that area bars and restaurants were bustling with people, many of whom had their eyes glued to mounted television sets that were showing a soccer game being televised. Similar to what football is in America, soccer is to Colombia, as it's a passion for many of the city's people.

Restaurant dining is similarly popular with eateries like Carmen, Bonuar and Ajiacos y Mondongos providing a variety of local favorites like tripe soup, ajiaco and cazuela con frijoles, or beef with beans.

15
Mar

Injury often not enough to squelch immigrants’ work ethic, report suggests

A new survey analyzes what health effects immigrants face in the workplace.

Thanks to their work ethic and determination, few things can get in between an immigrant and his ability to send money home to his family, as sickness, poor weather and physical ailments often prove to be no match for their drive and perseverance.

But every now and then, physical disabilities – which may have occurred while on the job – prevent even the most persistent person from being able to head to work on a given day.

With this in mind, the New Hampshire Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health recently released the results of a poll, detailing immigrants and their work safety based on the responses from 366 immigrants, two-thirds of whom responded to the survey.

In addition to getting an idea of how many immigrants have been injured while on the job, the report also provided information on the jobs foreign-born workers are taking on in the Granite State. While immigrants are found in virtually every employment sector, the report found that they were usually in factory sectors, as well as cleaning services, food services, farming, construction and retail.

While all jobs carry a certain level of risk, as accidents can occur even in positions that aren't especially dangerous, a fairly small percentage of immigrants indicated that they were injured while on the job. Of the 10 percent of respondents who said that they had been injured, the most common injuries reported were to the extremities, specifically the hands, fingers, wrists, feet and elbows. There were a small number of injuries to the back and stomach as well among the 29 people who said that they'd been hurt on the job.

Because of immigrants' resilience, it may not come as a surprise as to how many of them stayed in their positions despite their injuries. Approximately seven in 10 respondents said that they "always" or "sometimes" maintained their post for whatever job they were involved with, even though doing so was sometimes tiring or painful.

Immigrants often unaware of workers' compensation
When workers get hurt while working, they are entitled to workers' compensation. Many small business have this type of insurance protection, which enables them to provide payment for their workers should they encounter an injury or illness that prevents them from being able to work.

The study found, though, that many immigrants were not aware that their company had this type of coverage that they could take advantage of. More than 60 percent of immigrants said that they didn't know about workers' compensation.

This report will likely help business owners better understand their employees and why it's important to make them aware of certain protections they have in the event they can't work for health-related reasons.

New Hampshire isn't known for being a major hub for foreign residents, as the immigrant population there is a fraction of what it is in states like Illinois, Florida, California and Texas. But the Granite State is slowly but surely seeing its population become more diverse. According to the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire, slightly more than 5 percent of the state's population is made up of immigrants. However, that's a full percentage point higher than in 2000. In addition, the relatively small share of foreign-born residents produced 50 percent of the state's population increase in between 2000 and 2010.

Numbers from the Immigration Policy Center indicate that New Hampshire has 69,700 foreign immigrants currently living within the state, nearly 55 percent of whom have been naturalized.

8
Mar

American homeowners increasingly comprised of immigrants

Increases in homeownership levels will be heavily influenced by immigrants, a new report says.

Thanks to the successes of immigrants in the working world, many of whom send money to their families back home, they will likely have a heavy influence on homeownership throughout the next several years, a recent report indicates.

According to a joint study conducted by researchers from the Mortgage Bankers Association and the Population Dynamics Research Group at the University of California, homeownership growth among roughly 33 percent of new households will be made up of the immigrant population. In addition, growth in more than one in every four renter households will be comprised of immigrants.

John Pitkin, senior research associate for the PDRG, said that while the report pertains to all immigrants regardless of where they originated from, the largest bloc of buyers will be the Hispanic community.

"For example, among the cohort of Hispanics who arrived in the United States during the 1980s, homeownership rose from just above 15 percent in 1990 to nearly 53 percent in 2010," said Pitkin. "[It] is projected to rise to above 61 percent in 2020 when the cohort will have resided more than 30 years in the United States."

He added that the heightened demand of homes among immigrants is a natural outflow of the pace at which individuals from other countries have come to the U.S., many of whom came seeking a better life for themselves and their family.

The report also detailed the states that would likely garner the most demand from immigrants. Perhaps not surprisingly – given how many immigrants live there – New York and California are likely to represent the states with the highest rates of foreign-born demand. Home owning immigrants already represent a sizable share of property owners in the respective states, comprising 82 percent of the increase in California and 65 percent in New York.

According to the Immigration Policy Center, 10.1 million immigrants live in the Golden State, with roughly four in 10 being naturalized citizens. In New York, more than half of the Empire State's immigrants are have gone through the naturalization process of the 4.2 million who live there.

Four other states where growth is likely to be largely represented by foreign-born citizens include New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Michigan, the report said.

Mark Zandi, a nationally recognized economist for Moody's Analytics, indicated that the immigrant population will have a heavy influence on the country's economy, as much of it depends on the real estate sector.

"Immigrants will be key to the housing market for decades to come," said Zandi, USA Today reports.

Cities with highest, lowest vacancy rates
With demand for rental and purchase households picking up, immigrants may find it difficult to find a place that's available, as vacancy rates have diminished. However, there are a number of metropolitan regions where many people have either left or are leaving their homes after they sell them.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released a list of the 75 cities where vacancy rates are highest. At 4 percent, the city with the largest number of properties available is Bakersfield, California. The Golden State's ninth-largest city is followed by Greensboro, North Carolina at 3.5 percent, Las Vegas at 3.4 percent; Toledo, Ohio at 3.3 percent and the Riverside-San Bernardino, California area at 3.3 percent. Rounding out the top 10 are St. Louis at 3.1 percent, Virginia Beach, New Orleans and Providence, Rhode Island tied at 2.9 percent and Chicago at 2.8 percent.

El Paso, Texas; Springfield, Massachusetts and Rochester, New York are three places where vacancies are few and far between. Each of these metro areas has a vacancy rate of 0.5 percent or less.

7
Mar

Builders strongly in support of recruitment tool

E-Verify may at some point be available by phone.

While there's no shortage of jobs immigrants have in the U.S. that enable them to send money to their families back home, a considerable number of foreign nationals work in the construction industry. However, due to circumstances beyond their control, many hiring construction firms have had some difficulty with recruitment due to concerns about their immigration status.

Thanks to the implementation of the E-Verify program, that's become less of an issue.

E-Verify is an internet services that approximately 409,000 employers use, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, allowing businesses to cross-reference data and determine if immigrants are authorized to work. The program has been so successful that an estimated 1,300 new businesses sign up to use the service each week.

Christopher Gamvroulas, a Salt Lake City home builder and developer, recently testified on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders before a group of legislators serving in the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security. He indicated that as lawmakers continue to deal with updating immigration laws, a key component of its reform should include E-Verify, which he says is quite user-friendly.

"On the whole, we have found E-Verify to be an efficient system," said Gamvroulas. "Generally speaking, it is easy to use."

At the same time, though, its implementation hasn't been flawless. Gamvroulas then made some recommendations about how the E-Verify system can be used so that it enhances the employer-employee relationship and gives business owners greater flexibility. For example, instead of only allowing employers to use the internet-based system once an applicant starts their job, business owners ought to be able to use it as soon as the candidate agrees to work.

"Allowing us to verify our workers' status the day they accept the job offer will give us more lead time to handle tentative non-confirmations for those who are ineligible to work," said Gamvroulas.

In addition, he suggested that E-Verify be accessible through multiple channels, such as by telephone. Because many construction firms only have a handful of employees and are rarely in the office, the telephone serves as another way the program can be used, such as while on the job site.

Immigrants represent one in every five construction workers
According to a recent analysis conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 15 percent of the national workforce is comprised of people who were born in a country outside of the U.S. But in the construction industry specifically, the immigrant worker ratio is much higher, accounting for roughly 20 percent of the workforce. Of these, more than half – 54 percent – come from Mexico and one in every four native to either Central America or South America.

E-Verify has received stellar ratings from many business owners that aren't all within the construction field. In a recent poll conducted by USCIS, out of 1,300 randomly selected employers who use the program regularly, customer satisfaction scores averaged 86 on a 100-point scale, with 100 being the highest possible score.

"This customer survey validates the success of our efforts, which we have undertaken in collaboration with the business and labor communities and other key stakeholders," said Alejandro Mayorkas, director of USCIS.

The poll also found that business owners were confident about its accuracy, were more than likely to continue using it for the foreseeable future and expect to recommend its use to other employers.

6
Mar

Quinoa given special recognition by international community

Quinoa is one of the healthiest foods in the world and largely derives from Central and South America.

Whether it's a fad diet or favorite food, it's not unusual for a country or given region to see a certain food suddenly become popular. And one of the latest food crazes is for a high-protein grain called quinoa.

To people who aren't too familiar with the health world, quinoa – which is pronounced "KEEN-wah"- may sound like a food that has only recently become widely talked and consumed. In reality, it's been grown for thousands of years and helped contribute to many developed or developing countries' economic health – the same places U.S.-based immigrants send money to, specifically in Central and South America.

Quinoa is similar in appearance to rice and is traditionally cooked in the same way, mainly by boiling it at a high temperature. However, unlike rice, it's very high in protein, which is unusual for grains. Even more unusual is the fact that it contains the same number of amino acids found in meat sources, which are the building blocks of muscle

An ever increasing number of health professionals are recommending their clients include quinoa into their diets, as studies have shown that it can help people lose weight when it's implemented into a well-balanced meal plan that's complemented with regular exercise. Because of this increased popularity, it has put strains on farmers to produce as much as possible quickly.

Bolivian farmers' stretched to the limit
According to The Associated Press, this has been the case for many Bolivian farmers, who have attempted to stay on top of the high rate of demand by mass producing quinoa in large quantities. Doing so can bring significant returns for the people selling it, as on the open market, the popular health food product is worth more than $3,000 for every 2,000 pounds that are produced.

And international leaders have recently coronated quinoa as one that's worthy of worldwide acclaim. According to the Food and Agriculture Department of the United Nations, 2013 was recently declared as the "International Year of Quinoa.

At the United Nations headquarters in New York City, UN Sec. Gen. Ban Ki-moon made the announcement along with Evo Morales president of Bolivia. Peru President Nadine Heredia – the country where most quinoa is produced – was also in attendance.

"Today we are here to recruit a new ally in the fight against hunger and food insecurity: quinoa," said Graziano da Silva, director general of the FAO.

She added that quinoa is truly unique, not only because it's been around since 1200 AD, but also for its nutritional benefits, prompting many to consider it to be a "superfood," or one that's replete with nutrients. For example, not only does quinoa contain all of the body's essential amino acids but it's also a carbohydrate that's gluten free. Gluten is a type of protein many people are allergic to traditionally found in food containing wheat.

"This has been an extraordinary grain cultural foundation and a staple in the diet of millions of people across the Andes for thousands of years," said Ki-moon. "Quinoa is now ready to receive global recognition."

Another characteristic of quinoa is that it can be grown in a variety of climates. FAO notes that thanks to its adaptability to temperatures, quinoa can grow at sub-freezing temperatures – even as low as 17 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Whole Grain Council has designated quinoa as its "Grain of the Month" for March. There are over 120 different varieties of it, much of which derives from Bolivia and Peru. This has brought a tremendous amount of business for these two South American countries – bringing $87 million in export sales to the respective nations.

26
Feb

Do-it-yourself weddings proving to be latest trend

More people are throwing do-it-yourself weddings to save.

No matter where people live, it seems that nothing these days comes inexpensively, whether it's gas, grocery bills, utility expenses or rent. And what proves to be no exception to this rule is the exorbitant cost of the average wedding.

According to industry statistics, U.S. couples shell out between $19,000 and $32,000 for the average wedding and reception. While weddings are meant to only be a one-time event, many people can justify spending this amount. And while some may have the desire to throw a wedding party that's top-of-the-line, finances can get in the way, especially when people have responsibilities that require them to send money to loved ones.

With this in mind, many people are throwing their own wedding party. Do-it-yourself weddings – or DIY's, as some refer to them as for short – have become increasingly popular in the U.S., as couples are able to cut back on spending while at the same time forming a stronger bond with one another and their friends who may help them organize.

And according to polling data from TheKnot.com, many brides to be take a lot of pride in the things they make. For example, the survey found that the majority of brides implement at least one DIY element into their weddings, whether it's making ceremony programs, party favors or escort cards.

And what they give out isn't just to a few people. The poll also revealed that Iowa and Nebraska residents tend to have some of the biggest weddings, with upwards of 200 people being invited to attend the nuptials and the reception afterward.

DIY weddings are more than just a passing fad. The Knot.com showed that at one time, wedding planners were often frequently hired to set things up and provide soon-to-be newlyweds with a framework for how everything would be planned. But today, less than 20 percent of brides hire a wedding planner, opting either to handle it themselves or share the responsibility with friends and family.

It can be difficult, however, to come up with a theme for a wedding. That's where specialty gift and wedding retailers may be helpful. The Texas-based retailer and seasonal merchandiser Michaels recently released a list of some of the most popular DIY wedding trends in 2013, such as heirloom romance, purple luxe, seaside bliss and events inspired by certain types of art. Of course, there are many merchandisers who specialize in weddings throughout the U.S., and a quick internet search will likely yield results for how to get in touch with them.

Average engagement ring nearly $6,000
Here are a few other statistics that suggest DIY weddings may be the best option for finances. The Knot.com revealed that the average engagement ring today costs about $5,850 and weddings that are held in the city are often more expensive than in more rural locations. It's estimated that some of the costliest weddings are held in New York City and Long Island, averaging $57,000 for all of the expenses.

Everyone goes into a wedding confident that the person they're marrying they will be with for the rest of their lives. And as international marriage statistics show, this is often the case for many people in Central and South America. Countries like Brazil, El Salvador, Ecuador and Mexico have fairly successful marriage rates, as the divorce rate for each of these countries is less than one for every 1,000 people. Other Latin American countries with divorce rates below this threshold include Panama and Chile.

6
Feb

Homeownership common among the foreign-born

Homeownership rate is quite high among the foreign-born population in America.

While many immigrants living in the U.S. have been able to send money overseas to their families in recent years, they’ve also been earning enough to put money down on a home of their own, recent statistics reveal.

According to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, more than half of foreign-born U.S. residents – 52 percent – owned their very own property in 2011, the latest year for which data is available. This contrasts with about a 67 percent homeownership rate for U.S. residents and citizens who were born in the country.

While the rate of homeownership was high among all foreign-born residents, it’s particularly common among individuals who’ve naturalized. The Census report notes that foreign-born residents who’ve gone through the naturalization process were more likely to be homeowners, as approximately two-thirds of them could be classified as owner-occupiers. The rate of homeownership among non-citizens, meanwhile, was 34 percent.

Elizabeth Grieco, chief of the foreign-born population branch at the Census, indicated that homeownership is something virtually every American hopes to achieve at some point in their lives and it’s clear that those who came here from overseas have similar aspirations.

“Homeownership is a goal shared by many residents of the United States, both native- and foreign-born, citizen and noncitizen,” said Grieco. “For immigrants in particular — who maintain nearly one in seven households in the U.S. – making the transition from renter to homeowner represents a significant investment in the United States.”

Lengthy stays increase likelihood of homeownership
And it appears as though that the longer immigrants have been in the U.S., the more likely it is that they wind up purchasing a property eventually.  For example, among foreign-born householders that came to the U.S. 33 years ago, approximately 75 percent owned their own residence as opposed to rented. Meanwhile, among individuals who have lived in the U.S. in the past 13 years, about 25 percent owned rather than rented.

There were also some disparities when it comes to where immigrants lived. Among foreign-born householders who live in the Northeast, the rate of homeownership was above the 52 percent average in parts of New York and Pennsylvania. In fact, throughout much of New Hampshire, the foreign-born homeownership rate was in excess of 60 percent.

According to the Immigration Policy Center, there are about 69,500 immigrants who live in the Granite State, 54 percent of whom are naturalized.

There was a tremendous amount of variability from one state to the next outside of the Northeast. For example, New Mexico’s homeownership rate among foreigners was in excess of 60 percent, but it was below 40 percent in Washington, D.C. 

There was also some level of unpredictability for homeownership among foreign-born householders who originated from certain parts of the world. For instance, the rate of owner-occupied status was under 40 percent among households headed by someone who was born in Africa, which contrasts with 66 percent of Europeans.

The Census Bureau’s statistics coincide with those released by the National Association of Realtors this past June. In its Profile of International Home Buying Activity, NAR notes that residential purchases among the foreign-born totaled $82.5 billion between March 2011 and 2012, up from $66.4 billion when contrasted with the same 12-month span the previous year.

International buyers represented the largest portion of real estate purchases in states where the immigrant population is high, including Florida, California, Texas and Arizona, NAR numbers show.