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.
Large gaps exist in the social science and public policy research on immigration. Guillermina Jasso of New York University, Douglas S. Massey of the University of Pennsylvania, Mark R. Rosenzweig of Harvard University, and James P. Smith of RAND take an in-depth look at the New Immigrant Survey, which aims to bridge the chasm between information needs and existing data.