Monday, October 23, 2006

Undocumented Immigrants by Congressional District

A Report by Rob Paral
Over the past year, Congress has debated major changes to immigration law as a response to undocumented immigration. While this debate has relied heavily upon estimates of undocumented immigration at the national level, less attention has been paid to the number of undocumented immigrants in local areasand almost no analyses have considered the size and scope of undocumented immigration in each of the 435 congressional districts. Yet the size of the undocumented population in each congressional district is an important consideration in gauging whether or not a representatives stance on a particular immigration policy or initiative has a basis in the actual, local impact of undocumented immigration.

Recently released data from the 2005 American Community Survey permit us to update our previous estimates of the undocumented population by congressional district and to compare these estimates with those from the 2000 census. Although the undocumented population of the United States as a whole increased substantially over these five years, trends in undocumented immigration varied widely from district to district:

In 2005, undocumented immigrants accounted for about 10 percent or more of the total population in only 27 (or roughly 6 percent) of the 435 congressional districts.
Conversely, undocumented immigrants comprised about 5 percent or less of the population in more than half (or 232) of all congressional districts in 2005.
Between 2000 and 2005, the undocumented population of 107 districts doubled, although most of these districts had relatively few undocumented immigrants to begin with.
More strikingly, 39 districts experienced either a decline or no change in their undocumented population between 2000 and 2005. Many of these districts had been major destinations for new arrivals in the past, but are becoming less so as immigrants move to other parts of the country.
Read the entire report here.

For more information contact Tim Vettel at (202) 742-5608. 

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is dedicated exclusively to the analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States. The IPC is a division of the American Immigration Law Foundation, a nonprofit, tax-exempt educational foundation under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. 


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