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January 30, 2013
Data on the Foreign Born and Immigrants
The Migration Policy Institute Data Hub has updated a national and state-level profile of the foreign born in the United States. Using statistics from the most recent American Community Survey (ACS) data, this analysis of immigrants and natives across the country covers their demographic and social, language and education, workforce, and income and poverty characteristics. This month's updates are to the "Demographic and Social Characteristics" fact sheets.
Using 2011 ACS data, the highlights include analysis on top countries of birth for the US foreign born, US citizenship status, state-to-state mobility, and more. (The fact sheets also showcase companion data on the US-born population and, in some cases, comparison of key trends in 1990 and 2000.) Some interesting facts you will find:
* Mexico, India, and China were the top three countries of birth at the national level. Close to 40.4 million immigrants resided in the United States in 2011, with most emigrating from Mexico, India, and China. In comparison, the three largest source countries in 1990 were Mexico, the Philippines, and Canada.
* About 45 percent of all immigrants in the United States are naturalized US citizens. Eligibility requirements (visa status, length of residence, English skills, etc.), naturalization rates (how fast an eligible person chooses to apply for naturalization), and processing time (including background checks) determine for the most part which immigrants are more likely to become US citizens.
* Children of immigrants account for one-quarter of all children under 18 but almost one-third of those in low-income families.
In addition, the nation's immigrant population reached a record 40.4 million in 2011, including an estimated 11.1 million who are unauthorized, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. The overall number of immigrants in the U.S. continues to grow steadily; it is up by more than 9 million since 2000. By contrast, the number of unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. grew for decades before peaking at 12 million in 2007. It was 11.1 million as of 2011, the last year for which an estimate is available.
The 40.4 million total, which includes legal as well as unauthorized immigrants, made up 13% of the total U.S. population in 2011. While the 40.4 million is a record, immigrants' share of the total population is below the U.S. peak of just under 15% during the period from 1890 to 1920 — a high-immigration era dominated by arrivals from Europe. The modern wave, which began with the passage of border-opening legislation in 1965, has been led by arrivals from Latin America (about 50%) and Asia (27%).
Besides this new analysis of the nation's immigrant population, the Pew Hispanic Center also is publishing today a statistical portrait of the nation's foreign-born population. It is based on the Census Bureau's 2011 American Community Survey and features detailed characteristics of the U.S. foreign-born population at the national level, as well as state population totals. Topics covered include age, nativity, citizenship, origin, language proficiency, living arrangements, marital status, fertility, schooling, health insurance coverage, earnings, poverty and employment.
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