E.g., 09/15/2014
E.g., 09/15/2014

The Foreign Born from Mexico in the United States

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The Foreign Born from Mexico in the United States

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The largest immigrant group in the United States is composed of people born in Mexico, according the Census 2000. This group is also growing rapidly. And while Mexican immigrants are still settling in "traditional" destination states, such as California and Texas, over the last decade the foreign born from Mexico, like other immigrant groups, have begun moving to "non-traditional" settlement areas such as Georgia. This Spotlight examines the size, growth, and geographic distribution of the foreign born from Mexico.

Click on the bullet points below for more information:

 
English-speaking abilities of the foreign-born population,
age five years and over, of the United States: 2000
(View Chart)
 
Foreign born from Mexico as percent
of total county population, 2000


(View Map)
 

There are approximately 9.9 million foreign born from Mexico in the United States.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, there were 9.9 million foreign born from Mexico in the United States in 2002.

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There are more foreign born from Mexico in the United States than any other immigrant group.

Of the 33 million foreign born, as estimated by the 2002 American Community Survey, 9.9 million, or 30 percent, are from Mexico. The foreign born from Mexico are the largest immigrant group in the United States.

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The states with the largest number of foreign born from Mexico are California, Texas, and Illinois.

According to the results of the 2002 American Community Survey, California had the largest number of foreign-born residents from Mexico (4 million), followed by Texas (2.1 million), and Illinois (668,000). The remaining 10 states with the largest numbers of Mexican immigrants include Arizona (471,000), Colorado (231,000), Georgia (224,000), North Carolina (199,000), Florida (195,000), New York (187,000), and Nevada (181,000).

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Between 1990 and 2000, the number of foreign born from Mexico in the United States more than doubled.

The foreign-born population from Mexico increased from 4.3 million in 1990 to 9.2 million in 2000, or by 4.9 million persons, according to the results of Census 2000. The Mexican immigrant population more than doubled in size, increasing by 114 percent over the decade.

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The states that experienced the greatest percent increases in their foreign-born populations from Mexico between 1990 and 2000 include Tennessee and Alabama.

The results of Census 2000 show that the states with the largest percent change in their Mexican immigrant populations include Tennessee (2,166 percent) and Alabama (2,054 percent), followed by North Carolina (1,865 percent), Kentucky (1,637 percent), and South Carolina (1,377 percent). The remaining 10 states that experience the largest percent increase include Mississippi (1,251 percent), Arkansas (1,244 percent), Minnesota (1,093 percent), Georgia (839 percent), and Delaware (789 percent).

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Georgia and North Carolina also experienced considerable growth in their Mexican immigrant population between 1990 and 2000.

Results from Census 2000 show that both Georgia and North Carolina were among the 10 states with the largest numeric growth in the foreign-born population from Mexico. The Mexican immigrant population in Georgia grew by 170,000, from 20,000 in 1990 to 191,000 in 2000. For North Carolina, the foreign-born population grew by 163,000, from 9,000 in 1990 to 172,000 in 2000. Both North Carolina (1,865 percent) and Georgia (839 percent) were also among the 10 states with the largest percent increase in their Mexican immigrant populations.

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The foreign born from Mexico make up three percent of the total U.S. population, but 12 percent of the total population of California.

According to the results of Census 2000, immigrants from Mexico account for just 3.3 percent of the total population. The states with the highest proportion of foreign born from Mexico in their total populations include California (11.6 percent), Texas (9 percent), Arizona (8.5 percent), Nevada (7.7 percent), and New Mexico (5.9 percent), followed by Illinois (5 percent), Colorado (4.2 percent), Oregon (3.3 percent), and Utah (3 percent).

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The states with the largest proportions of immigrants from Mexico in their total foreign-born populations include New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and Idaho.

In 2000, there were four states with over half of their foreign-born population from Mexico, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, including New Mexico (72 percent), Arizona (66 percent), Texas (65 percent), and Idaho (55 percent). The remaining 10 states with the highest percentage of Mexican immigrants in their foreign-born populations include Colorado (49 percent), Nevada (49 percent), Kansas (47 percent), Arkansas (46 percent), California (44 percent), and Oklahoma (43 percent).

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Mexico continues to be the leading source of unauthorized immigration into the United States.

According to a January 2003 report published by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Mexico was the leading source of unauthorized immigration into the United States in the 1990s. The INS estimates that the unauthorized resident population from Mexico increased from about two million in 1990 to 4.8 million in 2000. By January 2000, Mexico accounted for nearly 69 percent of the total unauthorized resident population. The INS estimates also suggest that in 2000 over half of all Mexican foreign born were undocumented.

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About one in every five immigrants who obtained legal permanent resident status in 2002 were from Mexico.

According to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, 1.1 million persons obtained legal permanent residence status in 2002. Over 219,000, or 21 percent, were from Mexico. Of the 219,000, over 166,000, or 76 percent, were already resident in the United States when they obtained legal permanent resident status. By comparison, of the total 1.1 million, over 679,000 persons, or 64 percent, were already in the United States when they adjusted their statuses.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 1990 Census of Population and Housing and Census 2000, Summary File 3