E.g., 11/27/2015
E.g., 11/27/2015

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.


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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.
January 2004

During the 1990s, NAFTA was promoted by both U.S. and Mexican officials as a means to spur economic growth and job creation in Mexico and thereby reduce the number of unauthorized migrants entering the U.S. from Mexico each year. This report takes a critical look at NAFTA’s impact on regulating migration from Mexico to the United States.

September 2014
Large immigration flows challenge destination cities to find innovative ways to meet the needs of immigrant residents and promote their integration. This report examines the successful integration strategies of five U.S. cities—Cupertino and San Francisco, CA; Littleton, CO; New York City; and Seattle—and offers lessons for local governments looking to implement their own initiatives.
September 2015

This report examines the experiences of Latino families in the United States with discrimination. The cumulative effects of hostile interactions with social institutions and community members place Latino children and families at increased risk for a range of negative outcomes, including emotional stress, limited financial opportunities, and increased social isolation.

November 2004

This report investigates and addresses gaps in the data needs of immigrant service and advocacy organizations by surveying the most commonly used migration data sources in the field, discussing budget-conscious ways to commission customized analysis through government and private sources, and identifying good providers of training for staff. 

April 2008

This report examines the large presence of unauthorized and mixed-status families, and the growing size of the second generation and its concerns within Los Angeles County and in California, drawing comparisons to broader national demographic trends and rationales for immigrant integration.