83% Of The Smartest High Schoolers in the U.S. Are the Children Of Immigrants

If a recent study of the best and the brightest high school science students in America is to be believed, the nation’s future generation rests mostly in the hands of brilliant second generation immigrants.

According to the National Foundation for American Policy, an astounding 83% (33 of 40) of the finalists in the prestigious 2016 Intel Science Talent Search were sons and daughters of immigrants. They were composed of children of both family-based and employment-based immigrants, reports Forbes.

The Intel Science Talent Search has been dubbed as the “Junior Nobel Prize,” with a whopping 95% of winners went on to pursue science as a career. Most impressively, 70% them eventually earn Ph.D.’s or M.D.’s.

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Even more remarkable was the fact that 30 out of 40 (75%) of the finalists had parents who are in America on H-1B visas, who would later become green card holders and U.S. citizens. Only seven children from the finalists had both parents born in the United States.

The fact that there is less than 1% former H-1B visa holders in the entire U.S. population added to the likelihood that they are four times more likely to have a kid in the prestigious contest than native-born Americans is mind-blowing.  

Of the finalists, 14 had parents who were both from India, 11 had parents who were both from China, and seven with parents from the United States. The rest had parents from Canada, Cyprus, Iran, Japan, Nigeria, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.

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It was also revealed that 27 of the 40 high schoolers (68%) had at least one parent who was once was an international student in America. If some of the recent modified visa policies affect how long international students can remain in America after graduation, the country may, in fact, be losing the potential scientific contributions of the remarkable children.

Organized annually by the Society for Science & the Public, the national competition is widely recognized in the science community as the leading competition for U.S. high school students in the subject.

Now renamed the Regeneron Science Talent Search, (after its new sponsor Regeneron Pharmaceuticals), the contest will host another group of 40 finalists to compete in Washington, D.C., from March 9 to 15, 2017.

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Here are the finalists for this year:

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