E.g., 09/21/2014
E.g., 09/21/2014

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

2013 proved a year of significant highs and lows in the quest to reform the U.S. immigration system, with enough political and legislative twists to keep even veteran observers of Congress guessing and leave politicians and pundits confused about the prospects for enacting reform in 2014.

More than 1 million people became lawful permanent residents (LPRs) of the United States in 2012, with family-sponsored immigrants accounting for two-thirds of those gaining a green card. This Spotlight examines federal statistics on foreign nationals who gained LPR status during 2012.

With the state of Alabama's recent legal settlement ensuring that key portions of its highly contested immigration enforcement law will never take effect, an important chapter of heightened activism by states in immigration enforcement has drawn to a near close. This article explores Alabama's decision, which traces its roots to the Supreme Court's 2012 ruling in Arizona v. United States, as well as the Infosys civil settlement with federal prosecutors over its use of foreign workers, new refugee admission numbers, extension of Temporary Protected Status for Somalis, and more.

About 757,000 immigrants took U.S. citizenship in 2012, a 9 percent increase from the year before. As of 2012, 46 percent of the nation’s 40.8 million immigrants were naturalized Americans. This article examines the latest naturalization data available for the United States, including historical trends, data by country of origin and state of residence, as well as socioeconomic characteristics of the 18.7 million naturalized U.S. citizens residing in the United States in 2012.

While budget issues and the debt ceiling dominated the congressional agenda and public attention last week, thousands of activists in Washington were stepping up civil disobedience and mobilization tactics to pressure lawmakers into voting to overhaul the nation’s immigration system. This article explores this growing trend and its possible implications for immigration reform in the 113th Congress. It also provides an update on other national, state, and local developments in immigration policy.

Immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region residing in the United States are part of a migration flow that dates back several decades. The highly diverse MENA immigrant population has grown from about 50,000 in 1920 to nearly 961,000 in 2012. This article examines the latest data on immigrants from the MENA region in the United States, including population size, geographic distribution, admission categories, and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.

Iowa has just become the third state to gain access to federal SAVE immigration data for the purpose of removing noncitizens from its voter lists. This practice, which signifies a major departure from the system's intended purposes, comes amid renewed focus over voting rights. This article explores the recent surge in state activism regarding the possibility of noncitizen voting and also examines the current leadership vacuum in the Department of Homeland Security, new guidance for immigration benefits for same-sex couples, and more.

Having entered a country before or during a global economic crisis that remains acute in many areas, millions of young immigrants around the world face long-lasting setbacks in launching their careers and reaching their potential. Discrimination in the job market remains a major obstacle in many parts of Europe and the United States, affecting both immigrant youth and young people with an immigrant background. This article examines common challenges and factors influencing the development of local labor-market integration initiatives targeting immigrant youth, based on four city case studies conducted in the United States and the European Union.

In 2011, India was the third largest country of origin for immigrants in the United States, after Mexico and China. The close to 1.9 million Indian immigrants in the United States accounted for almost 5 percent of the country’s total foreign-born population of 40.4 million. This article examines the latest data on Indian immigrants in the United States, including population size, geographic distribution, admission categories, and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.

In 2011, there were 25.3 million Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals residing in the United States, or roughly 9 percent of the nation's population ages 5 and older. Although most LEP individuals were foreign born, nearly one-fifth of this population was native born, about three-quarters of whom were children ages 5 to 17. This article provides a demographic and socioeconomic profile of LEP individuals residing in the United States, including the population's size, geographic distribution, and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.

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Reports
January 2011

Notwithstanding the broad consensus on the benefits of highly skilled immigration, the economic role of less-skilled immigrants is one of the more controversial questions in the immigration debate. While less-skilled immigrants bring economic benefits for U.S. consumers, employers, and skilled workers, they impose some costs on U.S. workers competing for similar jobs.

Reports
November 2011

The story of immigrant integration in the United States has historically been one of generational progress, with the gains for second-generation Hispanic women particularly impressive, as this report reveals. It profiles first- and second-generation young adults ages 16 to 26, examining this diverse population's education and career pathways.

Reports
March 2013

This report examines how a parent’s unauthorized status affects child development. Based on a review of existing research that increasingly points to negative developmental consequences of parental unauthorized status across all stages of childhood, the authors explore possible options for policies and programs that could mitigate these risks, and propose ways to achieve this goal within the framework of proposed comprehensive immigration reform.

Reports
June 2014

This report identifies the unique needs of immigrant parents as they try to engage with early childhood education and care programs. Parent engagement is a critical component of kindergarten readiness, but many immigrant parents face formidable barriers to participation. The report explores federal and local efforts for immigrant parents of young children and offers recommendations for better meeting their needs.

Reports
March 2004

This report examines the transfer of immigration functions from the former Immigration and Naturalization Service to the newly established Department of Homeland Security and offers an analysis of the Department’s progress in its first year of existence toward accomplishing the two purposes for which it was created: (1) to ensure that immigration regulation and control enhances national security; and (2) to improve the performance of both the service and enforcement sides of the immigration system by allocating their respective functions to separate units within DHS. 

Reports
March 2007

This report provides a demographic profile of adolescent limited English proficient students in the United States, examines how these students are faring on standardized tests, and breaks down the assessment data further for a comparison of 6th to 8th grade LEP students California, Colorado, Illinois, and North Carolina.

Reports
July 2009

In order to rectify the shortcomings of a rigid and outdated U.S. visa system set in place by the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), this report recommends creating a new visa stream called provisional visas which would sync visa policies with the way in which labor markets work in practice, and bridge temporary and permanent employment-based admissions to the United States in a predictable and transparent way.

Reports
January 2011

This report provides an overview of several commonly used translation and interpretation technologies. It aims to assist language access practitioners in understanding and identifying which systems would best meet their agency’s language access needs.

Reports
March 2012

Texas has the second-largest number of English Language Learner (ELL) students in the nation. Using a unique longitudinal data set that tracks ELL and non-ELL students in Texas from first grade through high school, this report examines the trajectories and performance of individual groups.

Reports
April 2013

This report examines migration flows from Mexico to the U.S. since the 1990s and highlights key economic factors linked to migration trends. These findings are analyzed to forecast Mexican migration flows.

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Fact Sheets
August 2010

This fact sheet examines the number and growth of students in U.S. schools in need of English instruction.

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
January 2004

This report examines foreign-born participation in the United States’ labor market. It provides information and charts relating to the number and share of immigrant workers in the total civilian labor force and their employment rates.

Fact Sheets
August 2010

Over 5.3 million U.S. students during the 2007-08 academic year were enrolled in English Language Learner (ELL) programs. This fact sheet examines the states and districts with the highest number and share of ELL students and offers a detailed breakdown of 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 2004

Immigrants often work in traditionally unionized sectors of the economy, such as manufacturing and construction, or in occupations, such as services, that are becoming increasingly organized—yet little is known about their patterns of union representation. This report offers insight into the union affiliation, including membership and non-member coverage, of employed immigrant workers age 16 and over.

Fact Sheets
December 2010

This fact sheet, based on analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Survey, documents the top languages spoken by English Language Learners (ELLs) nationwide and on a state level.

Fact Sheets
June 2004

This report examines health insurance coverage among the United States’ foreign-born population. Findings highlight differences in coverage rates between native citizens, naturalized foreign-born citizens, and non-citizens.

Fact Sheets
December 2011

The number of U.S. residents deemed Limited English Proficient (LEP) has increased substantially in recent decades, consistent with the growth of the U.S. foreign-born population. This brief offers analysis on the number, share, growth, and linguistic diversity of LEP individuals in the United States from 1990 to 2010 at the national, state, and metropolitan-area levels.

Fact Sheets
June 2005

This report examines the scope and extent of the United States immigration system’s chronic backlog problem by offering insight into factors that contribute to protracted processing delays for naturalization and permanent residency applications before highlighting the steps the government has taken to address the issue.

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Policy Briefs
October 2007

This report explores the proposed implementation of the Department of Homeland Security’s new guidance which mandates employers who receive “no match” letters to determine the source of the discrepancy, take steps to resolve it within 90 days, and if this isn't possible, terminate the employee.

Policy Briefs
January 2014

This policy brief traces the successes and failures of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which represented the first and most comprehensive legislation to take on the issue of illegal immigration to the United States. The brief makes the case that IRCA's major flaws were rooted in statutory design more than regulatory challenges and implementation by the administrative agencies.

Policy Briefs
June 2005

This brief outlines the framework for MPI’s Independent Task Force on Immigration and America’s Future and highlights key issues in U.S. immigration policy it seeks to inform: upholding rule of law; developing policies that meet immigration/national security needs; managing immigration to increase economic competitiveness; and promoting economic and social integration. 

Policy Briefs
July 2008

This brief takes a look at hometown associations (HTAs)—immigrant organizations based on a common hometown—and their often overlooked function as integration intermediaries in their country of destination.

Policy Briefs
September 2014

In the absence of legislative movement to reform the U.S. immigration system, the Obama administration is considering executive action to provide relief from deportation to some of the nation's estimated 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants. This issue brief examines a number of scenarios for possible executive action, estimating how many people could benefit.

Policy Briefs
June 2005

This policy brief examines the “twilight status” or the de facto partial recognition of two particular categories of immigrants within the United States’ broader undocumented population: those with legally recognized claims to eventual lawful permanent resident status; and those with legally recognized temporary statuses.

Policy Briefs
September 2008

This report provides an overview of the citizenship test redesign process, reviews limited data on applicant test performance during pilot testing, and provides policy recommendations for moving forward.

Policy Briefs
August 2005

The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was the first legislative attempt to comprehensively address the issue of unauthorized immigration. The bill included sanctions against employers for the hiring of undocumented migrants, more robust border enforcement, and an expansive legalization program that was unprecedented.

Policy Briefs
September 2008

This report provides a global look at circular migration experiences, depicts various governments’ attempts at creating circular migration, evaluates the economic costs and benefits of circular migration for sending and receiving countries, identifies components of effective bilateral agreements, and reviews outcomes governments might realistically expect from their circular migration policies.

Policy Briefs
September 2005

This policy brief examines and reflects upon lessons learned from the last major attempt to resolve the problem of illegal immigration under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Arguing that stable reform will require three “E”’s— enforcing immigration laws effectively, expanding visas, and earning legal status —it also offers recommendations for immigration policymaking and management.

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