Thursday, January 15, 2015
Data Profiles of Unauthorized Immigrants in Top U.S. Counties, Including Potential Deferred Action Populations
The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) today released data profiles of unauthorized immigrants in the 94 U.S. counties with the largest such populations, including detailed information on population size, countries of origin, recency of arrival, educational enrollment and attainment, health insurance coverage, poverty levels and potential eligibility for the two deferred action programs launched by the Obama administration.
The profiles for the 94 counties, which are home to approximately two-thirds of the 11.4 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States, are the latest addition to a unique data tool that offers detailed information on this population at national and state levels, including those potentially eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program or the recently announced Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. Using an innovative MPI methodology that takes U.S. Census Bureau data and imputes legal status for noncitizens, the tool also provides estimates of the age, gender, parental and marital status, top languages spoken, labor force participation and home ownership rates for unauthorized immigrants.
The county profiles reveal that the top five counties with the largest populations potentially eligible for relief from deportation through DACA or DAPA — Los Angeles, CA; Harris, TX; Orange, CA; Cook, IL; and Dallas, TX — account for 1.1 million people, over one-fifth of the total potentially eligible population nationwide, which MPI estimates at 5.2 million.
In findings that may have key implications for policymakers and service providers, the data also show significant variance in the shares of the overall unauthorized population potentially eligible for deferred action. MPI estimates that 64 percent of the unauthorized population in Imperial County, CA may be eligible for deferred action, compared to a national rate of 46 percent. Other counties with the highest potentially eligible shares include Lake, IL, 60 percent; Cameron and Hidalgo, TX, 59 percent and 58 percent respectively; and Tulare, CA, 58 percent. At the low end, MPI estimates that 27 percent of the unauthorized population in DeKalb County, GA is potentially eligible for deferred action.
“Our analysis shows that deferred action is likely to affect counties differently,” said Randy Capps, director of research for MPI’s U.S. programs. “In general those counties with the most Mexican immigrants among the unauthorized have the highest share who are eligible for DACA or DAPA, with the majority of these counties being in California and Texas. Mexican immigrants are the unauthorized group most likely to be well established in the United States and to have formed mixed-status families with unauthorized parents and U.S.-citizen or legal permanent resident children — characteristics that qualify them for the DAPA program in particular.”
Other interesting findings:
The data tool is based on analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from the 2012 American Community Survey (ACS) and the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) by James Bachmeier of Temple University and Jennifer Van Hook of The Pennsylvania State University, Population Research Institute.