How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Counting California's undocumented immigrants - by their tax returns

Source: Public Policy Institute of California

A new report in which taxpayer records were used to estimate California's undocumented immigrant population by county is interesting on a couple of counts. First, the report from the Public Policy Institute of California estimates that Los Angeles County is home to a little under one million undocumented immigrants, 9.3 percent of its population. Second, it provides a sense of how many undocumented immigrants file income tax returns.

The population count report accompanies a broader report from the institute on the state of illegal immigration today, as well as related political and public attitudes. But back to the methodology: Because it's so difficult to get a good count of the undocumented population, the researchers used public records for Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, or ITINs, as a basis for the estimates.

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The smart phone vs. the digital divide

Photo by steefafa/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Photo by steefafa/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Much has been reported over the years about the “digital divide,” the lack of Internet access experienced by Latino and black Americans in comparison with other groups. Latinos in particular are on the losing end, less likely to have access than non-Latino whites, or to have a home broadband connection or a cell phone, according to a recent Pew Hispanic Center study. They also lag behind black Americans in home broadband access.

But smart phones may be narrowing the gap. KQED's MindShift education blog in San Francisco has highlighted a new report from the Public Policy Institute of California, which concludes:

...although Latinos are the group least likely to have a computer or Internet access at home, Latinos who use their cell phones to go online are twice as likely as whites (40% to 21%) to say that they mostly access the Internet this way.

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