Profile of the Unauthorized Population - US
Source: Migration Policy Institute (MPI) analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from the 2014 American Community Survey (ACS), 2010-2014 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.
Note: For U.S., state, and county estimates of the unauthorized population potentially eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, click here.
* “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.
- “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.
- 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.
- “-“ estimates are zero, not applicable, or not displayed due to small sample size.
- 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.