The average DACA recipient arrived in the U.S. at 7 years old, and the vast majority—more than 85%—arrived before they were teenagers. The average year of arrival for DACA recipients is 1999, meaning that the average DACA recipient has lived in the U.S. for more than 20 years. For many DACA recipients, these have been formative years, living through many of the major events and moments that have shaped the recent history of our nation like the turn of the new millennium, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Great Recession and subsequent recovery, six presidential elections, and now the COVID-19 pandemic.
For many recipients, DACA was implemented in the midst of their adolescence or early twenties, and the sense of certainty and new opportunities it provided were life-changing for these young people. For example, with DACA, many young people have been able to get driver’s licenses so that they can safely travel to work and school. In fact, since DACA was created, it is estimated that roughly 400,000 young people, or their spouse or partner, have purchased a car.2
Over time, DACA helped young undocumented people transition into adulthood, and prepare for their futures. The average DACA recipient is 25 years old. More than 4 in 10 DACA recipients have been to college, and at least 15% have finished a post-secondary degree. Roughly a quarter (27%) of DACA recipients are currently in school.