The recent shift toward both more younger and more older immigrants means that immigrants may make greater demands on social programs that redistribute resources to those age groups than immigrants have in the past. Spending on education may be affected by these changes, both through increases in the number of children overall and through the need to help those with special needs (for example, non-English-speaking children). Public support programs, such as SSI and Medicaid, also reflect the influx of more elderly immigrants (when they were eligible under these programs). These fiscal impacts of immigration, and how they are affected by the age structure of immigrants, are explored in depth in Chapters 6 and 7.
Because family composition interacts with so many economic and social outcomes, it is central to the way immigrants influence U.S. society. For example, it affects whether immigrants will be eligible for many public assistance programs, how much they will work, and the costs of educating their children. It may also be relevant to such cultural concerns as trends in marriage and in extramarital childbearing.
There are many ways to characterize families but, no matter which one is