E.g., 07/29/2016
E.g., 07/29/2016

Country Resource - United States

United States

US
  • Population.....................................................................318,892,103 (July 2014 est.)
  • Population growth rate ..............................................................0.77% (2014 est.)
  • Birth rate....................................................13.42 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
  • Death rate...................................................8.15 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
  • Net migration rate................................2.45 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
  • Ethnic groups*..........white 79.96%, black 12.85%, Asian 4.43%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.18%, two or more races 1.61% (July 2007 estimate)
* Note: a separate listing for Hispanic is not included because the US Census Bureau considers Hispanic to mean persons of Spanish/Hispanic/Latino origin including those of Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican Republic, Spanish, and Central or South American origin living in the US who may be of any race or ethnic group (white, black, Asian, etc.); about 15.1% of the total US population is Hispanic.

Source: CIA World Factbook

Immigration has contributed to many of the economic, social, and political processes that are foundational to the United States as a nation since the first newcomers arrived over 400 years ago. After brushes with immigration reform that began in 2001 and continued in 2006 and 2007, the United States seems to be on the threshold of overhauling the legal immigration system in the most substantive way since 1965. This article provides a comprehensive overview of major legislation and events affecting U.S. immigration throughout history, legal and illegal immigration flows, postrecession immigration trends, and more.

Recent Activity

The stark contrast between the Republican and Democratic parties on immigration was codified in their 2016 party platforms, and showcased in the rosters of convention speakers—featuring victims of unauthorized immigrant crimes on the one hand, and unauthorized immigrants living in fear on the other. This article explores the evidence, even compared to earlier platforms, of two divergent universes regarding immigration.

The Brazilian immigrant population in the United States doubled during the 1980s and almost tripled in the 1990s, but stabilized following the Great Recession. While this population has long included a significant share of unauthorized immigrants, Brazilians are increasingly coming to the United States through family, employment, and study channels. Learn more about Brazilian immigrants with this Spotlight.

News of the Zika virus outbreak in Latin America has raised alarm bells, resulting in scattered calls for tighter restrictions on international entries to the United States. Evidence shows, however, that closing borders and restrictions on international travel tend to have little impact on the spread of infectious diseases. This feature article explores the linkages between public health and migration in the Americas.

A split ruling by the Supreme Court in United States v. Texas has dealt a hard blow to the Obama administration's signature deferred action programs. While the decision makes it unlikely the DAPA program and DACA expansion will be implemented in their current form, the outcome at the high court may have opened a path for renewed movement on immigration policy changes in Congress, as this article explores.

Now comprising the sixth largest foreign-born group in the country, the Vietnamese immigrant population in the United States has grown significantly since the end of the Vietnam War. Learn more about this population with the latest data in this Spotlight article.

While the EB-5 investor visa program from inception has had its share of critics, its sharp expansion over a short period of time—combined with the emergence of several high-profile controversies—has markedly increased scrutiny, and thus the possibility of legislative reform. This Policy Beat outlines the debate surrounding the EB-5 program and possible changes awaiting the program in Congress.

The number of international students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities has risen steadily since the mid-20th century. Today, the United States represents the top destination for international students worldwide. Learn more about where these students come from, which universities they attend, and the subjects they study in this Spotlight article.

The fate of the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program could hinge on narrow legal grounds, as became clear when the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the DAPA challenge. This Policy Beat examines the DAPA case and developments regarding the H-1B and EB-5 visa programs, a Department of Homeland Security crackdown on student visa fraud, and more.

Get all the latest and historical facts and figures on immigrants and immigration in the United States in this handy resource. With immigration often surfacing in public and political debates, learn the answers to such questions as: How do current immigration flows compare to earlier ones? How many unauthorized immigrants live in the United States? How many refugees are admitted annually? And get answers to many more questions.

The Brussels terrorist attacks have renewed national debate in the United States over whether the U.S. refugee admissions program could be a gateway for terrorists to enter the country. Meanwhile, federal courts have frustrated state efforts to block resettlement of Syrian refugees even as some members of Congress have sought to reform the refugee admissions process through new legislation, as this article explores.

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Reports
June 2016

This report shed light on supplementary funding mechanisms targeted to migrant-background students in four countries—Canada, France, Germany, and the United States—and some of the key challenges and strategies decisionmakers face as they attempt to ensure that additional resources are used effectively to remedy the achievement gaps that immigrant and refugee students often confront.

Reports
March 2016

This study reveals the challenges and successes of collaboration between refugee resettlement services and Head Start, and demonstrates that increasing the Early Head Start and Head Start enrollment of young children in refugee families is possible through intersectoral collaboration. The report focuses on study sites in Phoenix, AZ and Syracuse, NY.

Reports
March 2016

In an attempt to fill the knowledge gap on integration outcomes for children of refugees, this report presents a demographic and socioeconomic data profile of the 941,000 children ages 10 and younger with refugee parents living in the United States in 2009-2013.

Reports
March 2016

This report examines how refugee families in Massachusetts access early childhood education and care (ECEC) services for their children through the refugee resettlement system. It examines how working parents in refugee families navigate and make use of ECEC services and looks at the institutional and systemic challenges that refugee families face in accessing stable, high-quality ECEC options.

Reports
February 2016

This MPI-Urban Institute report examines the population of 3.6 million unauthorized immigrants potentially eligible for the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program, finding that work authorization and relief from deportation could boost their incomes, decrease poverty, and mitigate harms of parental unauthorized status for the 4.3 million minor children living in these families.

Reports
January 2016

The absence of timely, reliable indicators of immigration control represents a fundamental challenge to resolving the public and political debate over the degree of effectiveness of enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border. This report examines ways to provide a comprehensive accounting of illegal immigration, both flows and stock, and calls on the federal government to do more to measure and report on border enforcement effectiveness.

Reports
October 2015

Refugee students with interrupted or limited formal education (LFE) face particular difficulties in adjusting to U.S. schools. This study illustrates the difficulties faced by Somali Bantu refugee students who came to the United States with no schooling, and the pressures placed on teachers and other staff in a Chicago elementary school.

Reports
October 2015

The pre-resettlement experiences of refugee children can have significant ramifications on their relationships with teachers and peers and on their academic advancement once resettled. This report explores the educational histories of young refugee children in first-asylum countries and identifies elements that are relevant to postresettlement education in the United States.

Reports
September 2015

This report examines the effects of personal discrimination as experienced by the children of immigrants, particularly in school settings. Research clearly and consistently shows that the majority of of children of immigrants perceive discrimination, which can have broad psychological, physical, academic, and social consequences for immigrant children.

Reports
September 2015

This report examines the rising numbers of apprehensions and deportations of Central American children and adults by the United States and Mexico, and provides a demographic, socioeconomic, and criminal profile of deportees to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The report traces how rising Mexican enforcement is reshaping regional dynamics and perhaps ushering in changes to long-lasting trends in apprehensions.

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Fact Sheets
April 2016

As federal and state governments ramp up efforts to implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, these fact sheets compare key characteristics of the foreign born and the U.S. born that are relevant to understanding needs for adult education and workforce training services. The fact sheets cover the United States, the 20 states and 25 counties with the largest immigrant populations, and New York City.

Fact Sheets
January 2016

This fact sheet uses U.S. and Mexican apprehensions data to trace the evolving trends in unaccompanied child and family migration from Central America through Mexico and to the United States, and discusses the push factors and pull factors responsible for the increase in flows seen in recent years, as well as the growing role of smuggling organizations.

Fact Sheets
January 2016

Growing up with unauthorized immigrant parents puts children—nearly 80 percent of whom were born in the United States—at a disadvantage, with lower preschool enrollment, reduced socioeconomic progress, and higher rates of linguistic isolation and poverty. This fact sheet examines the number, characteristics, and socioeconomic status of children, both U.S.-citizen and noncitizen, who have unauthorized immigrant parents.

Fact Sheets
October 2015

This fact sheet offers some key facts about the U.S. refugee resettlement program, which is the world's largest. It answers key questions such as how refugees fare in the labor market in the United States, how the current refugee admissions ceiling stacks up historically, and the types of screening would-be refugees go through before they are admitted to the United States.

Fact Sheets
June 2015

This fact sheet, drawing upon data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2013 American Community Survey and the U.S. Department of Education, describes the home languages spoken by English Language Learner (ELL) students at national and state levels, providing the top five languages by state.

Fact Sheets
June 2015

While English Language Learner (ELL) students are spread throughout the United States, their density, or the share they represent of total public school enrollment, varies greatly by state. This fact sheet, drawing upon data from the U.S. Department of Education, examines the states and districts with the highest shares and populations of ELL students and offers a detailed breakdown of some key statistics.

Fact Sheets
July 2014
MPI has produced profiles of 15 diaspora communities in the United States, gathering in one place key demographic data and analysis on diasporas from Bangladesh, Colombia, El Salvador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, India, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The profiles examine population size, educational attainment, household income, employment patterns, geographic distribution, and remittance volume.
Fact Sheets
May 2014
In a series of fact sheets focusing on the United States and a dozen key states, MPI assesses the extent of “brain waste”—that is, the number of college-educated immigrant and native-born adults ages 25 and older who are either unemployed or have jobs that are significantly below their education and skill levels.
Fact Sheets
August 2013

This fact sheet offers a detailed review of the comprehensive immigration reform legislation approved by the U.S. Senate in June 2013 and compares its major provisions with those of the five targeted immigration bills approved by the House Judiciary Committee and the House Homeland Security Committee.

Fact Sheets
April 2013

MPI has completed an analysis of the major provisions in the 2013 framework, comparing them to provisions of the legislation the Senate considered in 2006 and 2007. 

This fact sheet is formatted as a chart comparing the framework of comprehensive immigration reform outlined in the 2013 Senate immigration bill against provisions included in bills considered by the Senate in 2006 and 2007.

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Policy Briefs
November 2005

This policy brief examines the flaws in the United States’ existing employer sanctions regime and proposes six types of reform that could strengthen the system: improvements to document security, document consolidation, mandatory use of employment databases, increased enforcement staffing, a revised penalty structure, and better worksite access for investigators.

Policy Briefs
December 2010

This policy brief examines the legalization debate on both sides of the Atlantic and discusses policy parameters that characterize legalization programs, such as qualifications, requirements, benefits, and program design and implementation.

Policy Briefs
January 2006

This report examines the connections between the United States’ temporary and permanent systems of admission to the United States. It describes the goals and structure of each system, discusses the relationship between immigrant and nonimmigrant admission flows, and describes the critical data gaps that impede understanding of the underlying realities of immigration to the United States.

Policy Briefs
March 2013
This brief demystifies the technical meaning of going to the “back of the line”—a phrase adopted by lawmakers to convey the intent to grant legal status to unauthorized immigrants only after existing backlogs have been cleared—by explaining what “the line” refers to, who is in it, and what it means to be at the back of it.
Policy Briefs
January 2006

This report explores the complex issues surrounding temporary worker programs by looking at the ways in which the United States has responded to domestic labor shortages from the 1940s through the present. It examines the intent and structure of both historical and existing temporary worker programs, and raises salient policy questions that result from the analysis.

Policy Briefs
April 2013

The current U.S. legal immigration system includes few visas for low-skilled workers, and employers have relied heavily on an unauthorized workforce in many low-skilled occupations. This issue brief explains the questions that policymakers must grapple with when designing programs for admission of low-skill workers, for temporary as well as permanent entry. The brief focuses in part on the recent agreement by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO regarding admission of future low-skilled workers.

Policy Briefs
July 2006

Debates on immigration policy often discuss calibrating immigration levels to meet the labor needs of the nation’s economy. Indeed, it is clear that immigration strongly affects U.S. labor markets – over the past thirty years, foreign-born workers have grown to record numbers.

Policy Briefs
May 2013
This issue brief provides updated data, based on the Census Bureau's 2011 American Community Survey, on unauthorized immigrants in the United States, their demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, and their health care coverage. The analysis marks the first time that self-reported data on LPR status have been used to generate a national profile of unauthorized immigrants.
Policy Briefs
July 2006

This report provides a background for policy discussion on high-skilled immigration to the United States by presenting an occupational profile of foreign-born professionals and highlighting their contributions to the U.S. economy.

Policy Briefs
February 2011

An effective electronic eligibility verification system is an essential component of the U.S. immigration system, but questions as to whether the E-Verify employment verification system should be made mandatory remain. This report examines the strengths and weaknesses of E-Verify, and discusses proposals for reform.

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Books
July 2013

This edited volume develops a pragmatic approach to the engagement of highly skilled members of the diaspora for the benefit of their countries of origin. The book, edited by a World Bank senior economist, is based on empirical work in middle-income and high-income economies.

Books
March 2013

This volume, which brings together research by leading economists and labor market specialists, examines the role immigrants play in the U.S. workforce, how they fare in good and bad economic times, and the effects they have on native-born workers and the labor sectors in which they are engaged. The book traces the powerful economic forces at play in today’s globalized world and includes policy prescriptions for making the American immigration system more responsive to labor market needs.

Books
December 2012

This interdisciplinary volume examines the health, well-being, school readiness, and academic achievement of children in Black immigrant families (most with parents from Africa and the Caribbean)—a population that has had little academic attention even as it represents an increasing share of the U.S. Black child population.

Books
September 2011

This edited volume rigorously assesses the 1996 U.S. welfare reform law, questions whether its immigrant provisions were ever really necessary, and examines its impact on legal immigrants’ ability to integrate into American society.

Books
June 2011

This edited volume addresses the impact of the economic crisis in seven major immigrant-receiving countries: the United States, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. 

Books
April 2010

This volume, by a former senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission, argues that the U.S. approach to immigration and border security is off-kilter and not keeping pace with the scope and complexity of people’s movement around the world, nor with expectations regarding freedom of movement.

Books
January 2010

The book focuses on three case studies: the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. The volume includes chapters analyzing public opinion and media coverage of immigration issues in each country. Additional chapters propose strategies for unblocking opposition to thoughtful, effective immigration-related reforms.

Books
February 2007

Securing the Future seeks to define what policymakers and scholars mean by integration while attempting to sketch the contours of U.S. integration policy. The volume reviews evidence of immigrants’ integration by examining the progress of the second generation, as well as trends in education, health, the workforce, and citizenship.

Books
May 2005

Over the past four years, the United States has resettled far fewer refugees than it did in the 1990s. The decline has stemmed partly from post-9/11 security measures. But this book explains other, deeper reasons, deriving from changes in how and why refugees move, how asylum states receive them, and the world community's response. It also suggests steps to restore the program and better address real refugee needs.