E.g., 08/26/2016
E.g., 08/26/2016

Profile of the Unauthorized Population - CA

Profile of the Unauthorized Population:

DemographicsEstimate% of Total
Unauthorized Population3,034,000 100%
Top Countries of Birth
Mexico2,114,000 70%
Guatemala200,000 7%
El Salvador111,000 4%
Philippines88,000 3%
China82,000 3%
Regions of Birth
Mexico and Central America2,481,000 82%
Caribbean3,000 0%
South America41,000 1%
Europe/Canada/Oceania71,000 2%
Asia412,000 14%
Africa26,000 1%
Years of U.S. Residence
Less than 5480,000 16%
5 to 9775,000 26%
10 to 14692,000 23%
15 to 19400,000 13%
20 or more686,000 23%
Under 16214,000 7%
16 to 24459,000 15%
25 to 34858,000 28%
35 to 44794,000 26%
45 to 54436,000 14%
55 and over272,000 9%
Female1,434,000 47%
FamilyEstimate% of Total
Parental Status
Population ages 15 and older2,853,000 100%
Reside with at least one U.S.-citizen child under 18981,000 34%
Reside with noncitizen children only under 18148,000 5%
Reside with no children 1,724,000 60%
Marital Status
Population ages 15 and older2,853,000 100%
Never married1,166,000 41%
Married to a U.S. citizen222,000 8%
Married to a legal permanent resident (LPR)172,000 6%
Married to non-U.S. citizen/non-LPR766,000 27%
Divorced, separated, widowed527,000 18%
Education and LanguageEstimate% of Total
School Enrollment of Children and Youth
Population ages 3 to 17279,000 100%
Enrolled260,000 93%
Not enrolled19,000 7%
Population ages 3 to 12125,000 100%
Enrolled115,000 92%
Not enrolled10,000 8%
Population ages 13 to 17154,000 100%
Enrolled145,000 94%
Not enrolled10,000 6%
Population ages 18 to 24388,000 100%
Enrolled111,000 29%
Not enrolled277,000 71%
Educational Attainment of Adults
Population ages 25 and older2,360,000 100%
0-5 grade362,000 15%
6-8 grade540,000 23%
9-12 grade450,000 19%
High school diploma or GED499,000 21%
Some college or associate’s degree261,000 11%
Bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree248,000 11%
English Proficiency
Population ages 5 and older3,019,000 100%
Speak only English123,000 4%
Speak English "very well"613,000 20%
Speak English "well"611,000 20%
Speak English "not well"/"not at all"1,673,000 55%
Top 5 Languages Spoken at Home
Population ages 5 and older3,019,000 100%
Spanish2,442,000 81%
English123,000 4%
Chinese82,000 3%
Tagalog/other Filipino78,000 3%
Korean61,000 2%
WorkforceEstimate% of Total
Labor Force Participation
Civilian population ages 16 and older2,820,000 100%
Employed1,741,000 62%
Unemployed244,000 9%
Not in the labor force835,000 30%
Top Industries of Employment*
Civilian employed population ages 16 and older2,131,000 100%
Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services334,000 16%
Manufacturing282,000 13%
Professional, scientific, management, administrative, and waste management274,000 13%
Construction257,000 12%
Agriculture226,000 11%
EconomicsEstimate% of Total
Family Income
Below 50% of the poverty level389,000 13%
50-99% of the poverty level565,000 19%
100-149% of the poverty level585,000 19%
150-199% of the poverty level467,000 15%
At or above 200% of the poverty level1,028,000 34%
Access to Health Insurance
Uninsured1,774,000 58%
Home Ownership**
Homeowner812,000 27%
Deferred ActionEstimate% of Total
Childhood arrivals (DACA, 2012 program rules)***343,000 11%
Childhood arrivals (DACA, 2012 rules + 2014 expansions)***436,000 14%
Parents of U.S. citizens or LPRs (DAPA) ****1,087,000 36%


Source: Migration Policy Institute (MPI) analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from the 2013 American Community Survey (ACS), 2009-2013 ACS pooled, and the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) by James Bachmeier of Temple University and Jennifer Van Hook of The Pennsylvania State University, Population Research Institute. Data for the DACA estimates are modeled using U.S. Census Bureau data from the 2013 ACS and the 2008 SIPP in order to account for the required entry dates of June 2007 for the DACA program under the 2012 program rules and January 2010 under the 2014 expansions. Estimates of the deferred action program for parents are from U.S. Census Bureau, 2009-2013 ACS data and 2008 SIPP data.

Data-related notes
* “Top Industries of Employment” are those in which unauthorized immigrants were employed at the time of the survey or during the last five years. “Other services” are miscellaneous services, not including the following services listed separately: (1) professional, scientific, management, administrative, and waste management services; (2) educational, health and social services; and (3) arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services.

** “Homeowners” are unauthorized immigrants residing in homes that are owned, not rented.

*** To be eligible for the original Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, as announced in June 2012, unauthorized immigrants must have entered the U.S. before age 16; have a high school degree or equivalent, or be enrolled in a qualifying education program; and be between ages 15 and 30. They must also have entered the U.S. by June 2007 (modeled as any time during 2007 in our data). The population immediately eligible for DACA excludes individuals who will age into eligibility when they reach their 15th birthday as well as those who lack a high school education and are not currently enrolled in school, but who may become eligible for DACA if they enroll in a qualifying adult education program. Additional criteria such as passing a criminal background check cannot be modeled. The DACA eligibility expansions announced in November 2014 included eliminating the maximum age of 30 and moving forward the date of initial required residence from June 2007 to January 2010. Our estimates include populations immediately eligible under the original 2012 DACA program as well as the expansions announced in November 2014.

**** The population eligible for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), as announced in November 2014, includes unauthorized immigrants residing continuously in the United States since January 2010 and who are parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents (regardless of the child's age). The estimates for the DAPA program exclude individuals eligible for the DACA program. Additional criteria such as passing a criminal background check cannot be modeled.

  1. “School Enrollment of Children and Youth” refers to unauthorized immigrants who reported attending school or college at any time in the three months prior to the survey.
  2. For languages, "Chinese" includes Mandarin, Cantonese, and other Chinese languages; “English” includes English, Jamaican Creole, Krio, and Pidgin Krio; "French" includes French, Patois, French or Haitian Creole, and Cajun; “Hindi and related” includes Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Sindhi, Sinhalese, and Kannada; “Sub-Saharan African” includes Bantu, Swahili, Mande, Fulani, Kru, and other African languages; “Tagalog/Other Filipino” includes Tagalog, Bisayan, Sebuano, Llocano, and Hocano.
  3.  “-“ estimates are zero, not applicable, or not displayed due to small sample size.
  4. Percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

Methodology in Brief:
In the SIPP, noncitizens report whether they currently have LPR status—i.e., a green card. Those without LPR status may be recent refugees, temporary visitors (e.g., students or high-skilled H-1B workers), Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries, or unauthorized immigrants. Our method maps characteristics such as country of birth, year of U.S. entry, age, gender, and educational attainment between the two surveys, and those noncitizens in the ACS who have characteristics similar to those reporting LPR status in the SIPP are coded as LPRs in the ACS. The remaining noncitizens—who are similar in characteristics to those not reporting LPR status in the SIPP—are classified as either unauthorized or legal temporary migrants, depending on whether they meet the qualifications for H-1B, TPS, and the other temporary classifications. This method was developed by Jennifer Van Hook of The Pennsylvania State University and James Bachmeier of Temple University. For more detail on the methods, see Jeanne Batalova, Sarah Hooker, Randy Capps, and James D. Bachmeier, DACA at the Two-Year Mark: A National and State Profile of Youth Eligible and Applying for Deferred Action (Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute, 2014). Please note that these estimates use commonly accepted benchmarks from other research studies to determine the size of the unauthorized population and response rates to surveys. These estimates have the same sampling and coverage errors as any other survey-based estimates that rely on ACS and other Census Bureau data.