Thursday, April 22, 2010

United States' Stock, Flow, Naturalization, Asylum, and Net Migration Data

Using the most recent statistics from the Department of Homeland Security's 2009 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, the US Census Bureau's 2008 American Community Survey, and other sources, the Migration Policy Institute has updated its immigration data for the United States on its Data Hub. The tool allows you to chart current and historical trends regarding the number and origin of immigrants who reside in the United States, as well as naturalization and green card statistics.

For the updated US page, go to the Country and Comparative Data tool, select the United States on the right, and then choose one of the available tables. Among the statistics you will find:

* More than 1 million immigrants became US citizens in 2008. From an historical perspective, the number of naturalizations has increased dramatically in recent decades. Between 1970 and 1979, an average 141,000 legal permanent residents (LPRs) naturalized each year. The annual average rose to about 205,000 in the 1980s, 498,000 in the 1990s, and 629,000 for the 2000-2008 period.

* More than 1.1 million immigrants received legal permanent status in 2009. In general, new legal permanent residents (aka green-card holders) have similar rights as US citizens except that they cannot vote, have limited access to federally tested public benefits, and are not eligible to work in jobs that require US citizenship or special clearance.

* For each year over the last two decades Mexican-born immigrants received the highest share of annual green cards. In 2009, immigrants from Mexico received 15 percent of the 1.1 million green cards; the next group - immigrants from China - accounted for about 6 percent.

* According to the 2008 American Community Survey, there were 37.9 million immigrants in the United States, representing 12.5 percent of the total US population. In contrast, 9.3 million immigrants in 1890 accounted for a higher share - 14.8 percent - of the US population, the all-time high.

* More than 40,000 asylum applications were made in the United States in 2007, compared to 36,000 in Sweden - a country with a much smaller immigrant and overall population.

For these and other quick statistics, go the Country and Comparative Data tool, select the United States or any of the remaining 17 countries, and pick a table of interest. In the case of the United States and Spain (and eventually other countries) you can download the tables to make your own analysis easier.

Did you know that according to recent estimates from the United Nations Population Division:

* There are about 214 million international migrants around the world, representing 3 percent of the world's population. About 52 percent of them reside in just ten countries.

* While the United States accounts for 5 percent of the world population, it is home to about 20 percent of all international migrants.

* Among traditional countries of immigration (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States), New Zealand's immigrants account for the highest share of the country's population (22 percent). But it is certainly not a world record: More than 85 percent of people in Qatar are international migrants.

* The only country that is among both the top ten countries with the largest size and highest share of international migrants in its population is Saudi Arabia: the 7.3 million international migrants account for 28 percent of its population.


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