E.g., 11/26/2015
E.g., 11/26/2015

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

The Obama administration’s decision to shield from deportation unauthorized immigrant youth who meet certain qualifications represents the boldest immigration policy undertaken by this White House. MPI’s Muzaffar Chishti and Faye Hipsman examine what comes next and explore some of the new policy’s unanswered questions and implementation challenges.
The nearly 5 million immigrants age 65 and older residing in the United States in 2010 accounted for 12 percent of all elderly as well as 12 percent of the total immigrant population. MPI's Jeanne Batalova examines the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the elderly immigrant population, including where they live, countries of origin, and their sources of income.
MPI’s Muzaffar Chishti, Faye Hipsman, and Claire Bergeron examine the potential outcomes to the Supreme Court’s decision on a key provision to Arizona’s SB 1070 law.
Immigrant legalizations in the United States and Europe ("regularizations" in the EU context) have been used repeatedly for broad and discrete groups of immigrants. A look at how these programs have been implemented historically and the political and policy implications they face today.
MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on the reaction to ICE's new detention reforms, the Supreme Court's recent decision in Vartelas v. Holder, the designation of Syria for TPS, and more.
Interested in information on annual naturalization trends, illegal immigration, the geographical distribution of immigrants in the United States, current and historical shares, and a host of other topics? MPI's Jeanne Batalova and Alicia Lee have assembled the latest, most interesting data on immigrants and immigration into one easy-to-use resource.
MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on new proposals to amend the E-3 visa program to admit Irish nationals, decisions blocking implementation of more provisions of SB 1070 and HB 56, the Supreme Court's recent decision holding two tax evasion crimes are aggravated felonies, and more.
MPI's Muzaffar Chishti and Claire Bergeron report on the Obama administration's new prosecutorial discretion policy and proposed new rule for unlawful presence waivers, a new plan to promote US tourism, the newly designated H-2A and H-2B countries, and more.
Documentary filmmakers Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini, the team behind the acclaimed How Democracy Works Now series that explores the battle over comprehensive immigration reform in the 2000s, discuss what it was like to experience Washington, DC and the policymaking process from an insider's perspective.
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.


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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

June 2014
This report examines the experiences and outcomes of immigrant youth across California’s educational institutions. Tracing the effects of education budget cuts that hit this population particularly hard, the report offers recommendations as new funding priorities and education reforms are being implemented. With one-fourth of all immigrants and one-third of English Language Learner students in the U.S., California's performance holds national implications.
September 2015

This report examines the effects of personal discrimination as experienced by the children of immigrants, particularly in school settings. Research clearly and consistently shows that the majority of of children of immigrants perceive discrimination, which can have broad psychological, physical, academic, and social consequences for immigrant children.

April 2004

This report analyzes the housing status of immigrants in the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States with respect to homeownership. In addition, it examines the factors that appear to influence homeownership among immigrants, and the programs and initiatives that can encourage homeownership among these groups.

June 2007

This report explores the role of ethnic community-based organizations as drivers of refugee integration. It highlights contributions, challenges, and best practice methodologies identified through site visits to refugee-serving ECBOs across the country, and offers recommendations for enhancing the capacity and sustainability of refugee integration services.