E.g., 03/04/2015
E.g., 03/04/2015

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
September 2009

This report explores whether U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is capable of fully complying with the law and managing its sprawling detention system, and provides a roadmap for meeting the data needs essential for making humane, cost-effective, and legally sound decisions related to those in custody.

Reports
February 2011

Faced with enormous political pressure to stop illegal immigration and to prevent the entry of potential terrorists, the U.S. government has devoted ever more resources to enforcing border policies. It remains unclear, the author argues, whether the efficacy of these programs warrants their costs.

Reports
April 2012

Immigration from the Caribbean to the United States is a relatively recent phenomenon, beginning largely after 1965. This report provides a demographic profile of the 1.7 million Caribbean immigrants in the United States: their geographic settlement, education and workforce characteristics, earnings, modes of entry, and more.

Reports
May 2013

Focusing on the health care and engineering sectors, this report examines the formal and informal barriers to professional practice that foreign-trained professionals encounter when they migrate to the United States.

Reports
August 2014

Immigration alone cannot save Detroit, which has become a byword for urban decline and economic decay. But if carefully managed in the context of a broader economic development strategy, immigration may be a promising tool for boosting Detroit’s economic prospects, stemming population decline, and replenishing diminished city resources.

Reports
October 2004

The 1990s marked a distinct shift in the destinations of newcomers to the United States from traditional reception cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston and increasingly towards small and medium sized-cities. In response to this shift, a unique pilot project conducted in three mid-sized metropolitan areas shows that broad-based community coalitions can proactively integrate newcomers who are increasingly transforming Main St., USA.

Reports
December 2007

This report provides a framework for assessing the legal validity of state legislative measures that address unauthorized immigration. To determine their validity, authors seek to establish whether Congress has preempted the law, and if not, whether these local laws exceed the bounds of constitutional authority by conflicting or interfering with existing federal regulatory regimes.

Reports
October 2009

This report analyzes 2008 census data, presents statistics about immigrant populations and their health coverage, and discusses these numbers in the context of health care reform proposals that directly affect immigrants and the overall U.S. population.

Reports
March 2011

In the absence of new U.S. immigration reform legislation, this report examines the opportunities that exist within the executive branch and the administration to refine and strengthen current U.S. immigration laws and policies. The administration can exercise its authority to field policies, programs, and procedures that are effective and fair in advancing the goals of the U.S. immigration system. 

Reports
April 2012

African immigrants generally fare well on integration indicators, with college completion rates that greatly exceed those for most other immigrant groups and U.S. natives, this report finds. The United States, Canada, and Australia disproportionally attract better-educated African migrants then do the United Kingdom, France, and other European countries.

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