E.g., 12/01/2015
E.g., 12/01/2015

Country Resource - United States

United States

  • 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

In 2001, filmmakers Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini embarked on a journey that took them across the country and into the offices of the U.S. Capitol, local town halls, high-level negotiations, election races, and activist rallies, all to tell one large and complex story: how the U.S. policy process — particularly in immigration reform — really works. Joyce Matthews, editor of the Migration Information Source, recently caught up with Michael and Shari for a candid conversation about their ambitious project and what they took away from their six years filming the U.S. immigration debate. Foreword by Demetrios G. Papademetriou, President of the Migration Policy Institute.
There were more than 46 million nonimmigrant (temporary) admissions to the United States in 2010, the highest number in nearly three decades. MPI's Alicia Lee and Jeanne Batalova outline the definition of nonimmigrants and take a detailed look at admissions data and data limitations.
Comprising only a small share of all immigrants in the United States, the foreign born from Taiwan seem to embody the very spirit of the Asian Tiger. As of 2010, Taiwanese immigrants exhibited extremely high levels of educational attainment; a notable tendency toward homeownership; and elevated rates of employment in management, business, information technology, and certain other professional, science, and engineering fields compared to the foreign-born population overall.
From rather humble beginnings, the Chinese immigrant population in the United States has grown steadily since the 1960s to reach about 1.8 million in 2010. Compared to the foreign born overall, Chinese immigrants report higher levels of educational attainment, are less likely to live in households with an annual income below the poverty line, and are substantially more likely to have naturalized as U.S. citizens.
Muzaffar Chishti, Claire Bergeron, and Faye Hipsman report on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to decide the constitutionality of Arizona's SB 1070, passage in the House of the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act of 2011, DOJ lawsuits in Utah and South Carolina, and more.
Public backlash against the detention systems of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States mounted in 2011 with allegations of unacceptable living conditions, abuse, prolonged detention, and government waste.
The debate season is well underway for the Republican presidential primary races in the United States, and immigration has once again emerged as a highly contentious policy issue.
Immigration flows this year continued to respond sharply to the economic climate in major immigrant-receiving nations, as many struggled to gain a labor market foothold in the aftermath of the global economic meltdown.
As the United States paused in September to mark the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the enforcement paradigm that took hold immediately after the terrorist attacks showed no signs of waning.
MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) and the impact that law has had on past and present immigration policies.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

February 2015
Immigrant adults in the United States lag their native-born peers in literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving skills, with resulting effects on their income, employment, education, and health, according to MPI analysis of U.S. scores on the 2012 Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). The findings, which reveal wide ethnic and racial gaps in scoring, underscore deep U.S. social inequalities.
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.

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.

December 2008

Report looks at E-Verify, the internet-based program operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA). The program gives employers a means to electronically verify the work eligibility of newly-hired employees.