E.g., 12/25/2014
E.g., 12/25/2014

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

As Central American child migrant flows have returned to their precrisis level, challenges remain concerning the fate of tens of thousands of newly arrived children and families now residing in the United States pending immigration court hearings. Meanwhile, Congress has declined to authorize new funding to address the situation.

Between 1960 and 2012 the share of Canadians in the U.S. foreign-born population declined from 10 to 2 percent, while the actual number of Canadian immigrants has remained remarkably steady. Using the most up-to-date statistics, this profile examines the Canadian immigrant population by size, age, location, college education, and more.

Vietnamese Shopping Center in Virginia

The once-tiny population of Vietnamese immigrants in the United States has grown to become the country’s sixth largest foreign-born group in the span of several decades, with the first wave beginning at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. This data profile examines the Vietnamese immigrant population by size, recency of arrival, top states and cities of settlement, college education, sending of remittances, and much more.

When Congress returns from recess in September, lawmakers will need to pick up where they left off on approving an emergency spending bill to address unaccompanied migrant children at the border. This article previews upcoming battles in Congress and analyzes how the recent border crisis is changing the broader immigration debate in the United States.

From a massive typhoon in the Philippines last November to the ongoing civil war in Syria, recent global events demonstrate that natural disasters and political strife occur suddenly and often without warning. This article examines the U.S. Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program that grants humanitarian relief to nationals of certain countries embroiled in violent conflict or recovering from natural disaster.

The phenomenon of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, typically after an arduous and often dangerous journey through Central America and Mexico, has reached a crisis proportion, with a 90 percent spike in arrivals from last year and predictions of future increases ahead.

Haitian immigrants

Between 1990 and 2012, the U.S. population of immigrants born in Haiti tripled in size, from 200,000 to 606,000. This article provides the most up-to-date demographic information available for Haitian immigrants in the United States, including statistics on distribution by state and metro area, educational and professional attainment, income levels, health care coverage, and more.

The U.S. immigrant population—estimated at 40.8 million in 2012 — is the nation’s historical numerical high, and it is also the largest foreign-born population in the world. About 20 percent of all international migrants reside in the United States, even as the country accounts for less than 5 percent of global population. This article presents the latest, most sought-after data on immigrants in the United States—by origin, residence, legal status, deportations, languages spoken, and more—in one easy-to-use resource.

In a decision that received little notice, the Supreme Court in mid-March declined to review federal appellate decisions that struck down controversial local immigration ordinances in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, and Farmers Branch, Texas—bringing to a close a contentious chapter in immigration litigation. This article also explores President Obama’s decision to order a review of deportation policies, Chile’s admission into the Visa Waiver Program, and more.

The small window for enactment of a major U.S. immigration overhaul during 2014 seems to have closed. A trial balloon testing House Republicans’ willingness to proceed this year was quickly floated and dropped. Amid a focus on politics and timing, less noted was the reality that for the first time, House Republican leaders have affirmed support for a policy that would move the party closer to compromise over the most vexing question holding up immigration reform: what to do with the nation’s unauthorized immigrants.

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Reports
May 2011

Immigration is a prominent part of the United States’ DNA, despite concerns about immigrants’ ability to integrate. An examination of recent immigrant inflows shows newcomers to the United States are integrating well, based on language proficiency, socioeconomic attainment, political participation, residential locale, and social interaction indicators.

Reports
September 2012

This report examines the role of naturalization as indicator and facilitator of successful integration in the United States. It examines why immigrants decide to naturalize and why many of those eligible to naturalize are unable or choose not to do so.

Reports
June 2013

Low-income immigrant children are less likely than their U.S.-born citizen counterparts to see a doctor even when they are insured. Similarly, immigrant adults are less likely to use emergency rooms than low-income natives. This report examines health care coverage and usage among immigrants and the U.S. born.

Reports
June 2005

This report evaluates the United States Visitor and immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program within the broader contexts of national and homeland security as well as immigration law enforcement and policymaking. In doing so, the author provides constructive criticism along with a framework for rethinking US-VISIT’s goal priorities, investment needs, and deadline expectations.

Reports
October 2008

This exploratory study provides an unprecedented assessment of the “brain-waste” phenomenon in the United States—a serious waste of human capital resulting from the unemployment or underemployment of highly skilled college-educated immigrants.

Reports
November 2009

This report examines existing collaborative teacher exchange programs some U.S. states and districts have established with Mexico and Spain, and identifies such programs as a relatively unexplored, yet promising strategy for alleviating endemic teacher shortages and meeting the needs of LEP students.

Reports
May 2011

Over the past half century, migration from Mexico and Central America to the United States has been driven in part by regional demographic and human-capital trends. As the U.S. labor force became better educated, fewer native workers accepted certain low-skilled jobs. This report offers a look at the economic changes that have coincided with a Mexican and Central American population boom.

Reports
September 2012

This report focuses on the development of children of Black immigrants in the United States, comparing against the outcomes for their peers in native-born and other immigrant families. It also compares these U.S. children to those in the United Kingdom, where there is a large Black immigrant population but a notably different policy context of reception.

Reports
July 2013

Este reporte analiza algunos de los factores económicos que han influido sobre los flujos migratorios de México a los Estados Unidos, con el fin de construir escenarios sobre cómo dichos flujos podrían evolucionar en el futuro cercano. El análisis examina tres diferentes periodos en la historia reciente de la migración de México a los Estados Unidos.

Reports
August 2005

This report offers a comprehensive analysis of post-September 11 reforms to the United States’ visa system, examines what these policy changes in policy and procedures entail, and discusses how well they advance the stated goals of the U.S. visa program.

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Fact Sheets
October 2006

This report provides an overview of immigration to the United States based on Fiscal Year 2005 data released by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics in 2006.

Fact Sheets
February 2013

Esta ficha informativa analiza los cambios demográficos, los perfiles epidemiológicos y  los patrones de migración en El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, México y los Estados Unidos.

Fact Sheets
November 2006

This fact sheet examines demographic and labor market characteristics of Mexican-born workers in the United States and compares them to those of all foreign-born as well as native-born U.S. workers. The report focuses on workers age 16 and over who participated in the U.S. civilian labor force in 2006.

Fact Sheets
April 2002

This policy paper calls for a "Grand Bargain" between the United States and Mexico to address the areas of immigration and national security. Such a bargain would address the conflicting realities of the U.S.-Mexico relationship. The bargain would be composed of three completely integrated programs and two additional areas that need to be adressed. This three-(plus two)-pronged approach would realistically address the most vexing problems in the bilateral relationship, and deliver to both sides the outcomes they most urgently desire.

Fact Sheets
May 2007

While official measures of annual permanent immigration levels simply account for those who obtain lawful permanent resident status in a particular year, this report offers a more complex approximation by including estimates of certain forms of temporary immigration and unauthorized immigration in the calculus.

Fact Sheets
December 2010

In 2010, based on changes to the DREAM Act legislation pending in Congress, MPI issued revised total and state-level estimates of the unauthorized youth and young adults who might be eligible for conditional legal status, updating its DREAM vs. Reality fact sheet.

Fact Sheets
June 2007

This fact sheet compiles, in an easily comprehendible table, the security features of documents currently used by U.S. residents, including passports, Social Security cards, permanent residence cards, employment authorization cards, and state driver’s licenses.

Fact Sheets
April 2013

The Migration Policy Institute 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. 

Fact Sheets
September 2003

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, changes to visa policies, new security procedures, and measures to combat fraud contributed to a shift in the traditional composition of immigration flows. This report highlights recent data on immigrants to the U.S. and offers key analysis of what these figures mean in terms of U.S. policy.

Fact Sheets
June 2007

This fact sheet examines proposed changes to the United States’ family based immigration system under The Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Reform Act of 2007.

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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.

Policy Briefs
September 2001

In the immediate aftermath of September 11, the U.S. government committed to increasing national security through every possible avenue. Although the most effective measures to combat terrorism will inevitably rely on intelligence, certain immigration programs and procedures can contribute to better intelligence and enhanced security.

Policy Briefs
August 2006

This report examines the debate over whether immigrants depress wages and displace native workers in the U.S. labor market. It provides an overview of research since the mid-1990s studying the impact of immigration on native wages and job displacement, and reviews additional factors that may affect labor markets.

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