More than 40 million people living in the United States—whether as naturalized citizen, legal permanent resident, temporary resident, or unauthorized immigrant—were born in another country, representing 13 percent of the U.S. population. Immigration to the United States has ebbed and flowed throughout history, peaking at nearly 15 percent of the population in 1890 and plummeting to 5 percent in 1970. The data-rich research offered here traces the U.S. immigrant population by size, educational and workforce characteristics, English language proficiency, and more.
This Spotlight examines the educational attainment of the five largest immigrant groups in the United States, including those from Mexico, the Philippines, India, China (excluding Hong Kong and Taiwan), and Vietnam. According to the results of Census 2000, 62 percent of all foreign born in the United States have at least a high school education. Other measures of educational attainment, such as college or graduate degrees, vary widely by country of origin. The data presented in this Spotlight were derived from the U.S. Census 2000 1 Percent Public Use Micro-Sample (PUMS) file.