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.
With the war in Iraq intensifying, the media has focused on the Iraqi foreign born in the United States. To ensure the accuracy of public debate, MPI Data Manager Elizabeth Grieco uses U.S. Census Bureau statistics to describe the size of the Iraqi immigrant population.