E.g., 07/30/2014
E.g., 07/30/2014

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

At just under 517,000, immigrant apprehensions in 2010 were the lowest they have been in nearly 40 years. Sheida Elmi and Kristen McCabe analyze the most recent immigration enforcement data on apprehensions, detentions, removals, and returns of noncitizens in the United States.

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Reports
August 2011

This report reviews the history of immigration legislation since 9/11, the new enforcement mandates that arose immediately afterward, and the unsuccessful efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform bills during the 109th and 110th Congresses.

Reports
September 2006

This report examines post-9/11 immigration enforcement practices in the United States through the lens of international human rights. It identifies gaps in the protection of noncitizens’ civil rights under U.S. constitutional law, and then evaluates whether post-9/11 U.S. immigration control measures have complied with obligations under international human rights law with respect to due process protections and the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of national origin or race.

Reports
June 2009

The discussion guide offers a brief demographic and statistical profile of the immigrant student population in the United States, with comparison points drawn to Germany, sketches the broad policy implications of the demographic data, and provides a set of policy and practice issues in immigrant education and integration to facilitate a Roundtable inquiry in two areas: early childhood care and education, and secondary education.

Reports
October 2010

Immigrants have been disproportionately hit by the global economic crisis that began in 2008 and now confront a number of challenges. The report, which has a particular focus on Germany, Ireland, Spain, the United Kingdom, and United States finds that the unemployment gap between immigrant and native workers has widened in many places.

Reports
August 2011

Migration to the United States from Mexico and Central America’s Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) has accelerated in the last four decades. This increase has been driven by economic opportunities and facilitated by social networks of friends and family already in the United States.

Reports
February 2013

This report assesses trends in U.S., Central American, and Mexican agriculture and their implications for farm labor markets, including the demand for skills and its effects on education and workforce development. 

Reports
April 2014

This report profiles the current-era deportation system, exploring the new legal authorities, spending increases, and policy changes over the last two decades that have resulted in the removal of more than 4.5 million unauthorized immigrants since 1996. The report analyzes key trends in border and interior apprehensions, deportations, and criminal prosecutions, and examines the policy levers available to influence deportation policies, practices, and outcomes.

Reports
June 2005

This report examines the characteristics and demographics of the unauthorized population in the United States. 

Reports
November 2006

¿Qué clase de política y sistema de inmigración podría aprovechar los beneficios de la inmigración para avanzar los intereses nacionales de EE.UU. en el siglo XXI? El Grupo de Trabajo sobre Inmigración y el Futuro de los Estados Unidos fue convocado por el Instituto de Política Migratoria (MPI) debatir este tema.

Reports
July 2009

This report provides an in-depth examination of the limitations of the existing E-Verify system. Alongside recommendations for strengthening E-Verify and mitigating its unintended consequences, the report offers proposals for three next-generation verification pilot concepts that would tap new technologies and practices to overcome the core weaknesses of the system.

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