E.g., 04/07/2020
E.g., 04/07/2020

Country Resource - United States

United States

US
  • Population.....................................................................329,256,465 (July 2018 est.)
  • Population growth rate ..............................................................0.8% (2018 est.)
  • Birth rate....................................................12.4 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
  • Death rate...................................................8.2 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
  • Net migration rate................................3.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
  • Ethnic groups*..........white 72.4%, black 12.6%, Asian 4.8%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.9%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.2%, other 6.2%, two or more races 2.9% (2010 estimate)
* Note: a separate listing for Hispanic is not included because the U.S. Census Bureau considers Hispanic to mean persons of Spanish/Hispanic/Latino origin including those of Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican Republic, Spanish, and Central or South American origin living in the United States who may be of any race or ethnic group (white, black, Asian, etc.); an estimated 16.3% of the total U.S. population is Hispanic as of 2010

Source: CIA World Factbook

Immigration has contributed to many of the economic, social, and political processes that are foundational to the United States as a nation since the first newcomers arrived over 400 years ago. After brushes with immigration reform that began in 2001 and continued in 2006 and 2007, the United States seems to be on the threshold of overhauling the legal immigration system in the most substantive way since 1965. This article provides a comprehensive overview of major legislation and events affecting U.S. immigration throughout history, legal and illegal immigration flows, postrecession immigration trends, and more.

Recent Activity

The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the intersection of U.S. immigration and public health policy, and the unique challenges that immigrants face. This article analyzes the Trump administration’s introduction of some of the most stringent immigration restrictions in modern times, the often disparate fallout of the outbreak on immigrant communities, the status of federal immigration agency operations, and more.

Digital fingerprint

As governments seek to push their borders out by amassing ever more data on travelers and migrants, their creation of increasingly complex border surveillance systems and use of risk-assessment technologies could ease mobility for some while rendering other groups immobile based on hypothetical risk profiles and decisions that are not publicly known and cannot be challenged, as this article explores.

Woman and child

Immigrant women and girls constituted slightly more than half of the 44.7 million immigrants in the United States in 2018. This is higher than the global average, likely because immigrants are more likely to enter the United States through family reunification channels rather than labor migration ones (which globally are predominantly male). This article offers a rich data profile on immigrant women and girls in the United States including age, education, employment, and poverty levels.

A man says goodbye to his partner through the border fence

Through a set of interlocking policies, the Trump administration has walled off the asylum system at the U.S.-Mexico border, guaranteeing that only a miniscule few can successfully gain protection. While the Migrant Protection Protocols, more commonly known as Remain in Mexico, have been a key part of throttling asylum applications, two newer, far less visible programs hold the potential to complete the job, as this article explores.

Flags fly at the Chicago airport

Interested in answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about immigration and immigrants in the United States? This incredible resource collects in one place top statistics from authoritative government and nongovernmental sources, offering a snapshot of the immigrant population, visa and enforcement statistics, and data on emerging trends, including the slowing of growth of the foreign-born population, changing origins, and increasing educational levels.

Migrants being smuggled in a car trunk are intercepted at U.S.-Mexico border

As highly industrialized countries ramp up their border controls, human smugglers are playing a central role in moving migrants through key migration corridors around the world. Despite the illicit nature of their work and being cast as villains in the public eye, smugglers have complex, multifaceted relationships with their clients. At times, the relationship can be mutually beneficial or even lifesaving; at others, it can be predatory and dangerous, as this article explores.

Map of state consent or lack of consent for refugee resettlement

Forty-two governors, Republican and Democrat alike, have affirmed their consent for continued refugee resettlement, bypassing an invitation from the Trump administration to stop accepting refugees. These actions, which reportedly surprised the White House, suggest there may be limits to the Trump immigration agenda when it comes to refugees, as this Policy Beat explores.

Group of people sit in a park in New York's Chinatown

Nearly 2.5 million Chinese immigrants lived in the United States in 2018—the third largest foreign-born population in the country. Chinese immigration has grown nearly seven-fold since 1980, and China became the top sending country of immigrants in the United States in 2018, replacing Mexico. Chinese immigrants tend to be highly educated and employed in management positions, as this Spotlight article explores.

Tourists in New York City

In fiscal year 2018, the U.S. State Department issued 9 million temporary visas, a 7 percent decrease from the previous year. Temporary visa issuance has been declining in recent years, and the Trump administration’s immigration priorities may help explain this trend. This Spotlight explores visa issuance and admission, and highlights key demographic information on visitors for pleasure and business, temporary workers, and foreign students.

 

DACA rally in front of Supreme Court

The fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has ping ponged between all three branches of government. But with the Supreme Court poised to decide DACA's future in spring 2020, Congress may finally be forced to act to resolve the status of DREAMers after nearly two decades of considering various DREAM Act bills. Could this break the long stalemate Congress has had on passing substantive immigration legislation, and pave the way for other actions?

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The Patchy Landscape of State English Learner Policies under ESSA
Reports
February 2020

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have developed blueprints to meet their commitments under the Every Student Succeeds Act—including requirements that aim to raise the profile of English Learners (EL) in state accountability systems. This report breaks these plans down, comparing the significant diversity of approaches taken on everything from EL identification to tracking academic achievement.

Beyond Work: Reducing Social Isolation for Refugee Women and Other Marginalized Newcomers
Reports
January 2020

As migrant- and refugee-receiving countries in Europe, North America, and beyond prioritize services that are focused on employment, language instruction, and civic integration, newcomers who are not in the workplace are at high risk for social isolation. As a result, societies should reconsider what successful integration looks like for vulnerable newcomers who will never find traditional employment or who need a longer-than-average timeline to get there.

Transatlantic Council Statement report, January 2020
Reports
January 2020

Addressing the deep-rooted integration challenges unearthed by large-scale migration and rapid social change will require a combination of strategies. Governments in Europe and North America must create a new social contract for increasingly diverse societies that are confronting cycles of disruption. This report sketches a blueprint for an adaptive process oriented by skill needs rather than national origins.

Cover of the report Volunteers and Sponsors: A Catalyst for Refugee Integration?
Reports
November 2019

Rising numbers of refugees and asylum seekers in Europe and North America have been matched by an equally unprecedented outpouring of public support. How can service providers most effectively harness this volunteering? This report considers where community members can add the most value to integration efforts and offers recommendations for how policymakers can facilitate the effective engagement of communities in integration initiatives.

Reports
September 2019

Migration between Mexico and the United States has changed dramatically in recent years, but policies and political rhetoric in both countries have not always kept up. This report, which draws from discussions of a high-level Mexico-U.S. study group convened by MPI and El Colegio de México, explores this new migration reality and how the two governments could work more closely together to address shared policy challenges.

Reports
September 2019

La migración entre México y Estados Unidos ha cambiado dramáticamente en los últimos años, pero las políticas y la retórica política en ambos países no se han actualizado a este contexto a la misma velocidad. Este reporte explora esta nueva realidad migratoria y cómo los dos gobiernos podrían trabajar juntos para abordar los desafíos de políticas públicas que tienen en común.

Reports
August 2019

How did the U.S. border enforcement picture go in the span of two years from the lowest levels of illegal immigration since 1971 to a spiraling border security and humanitarian crisis? This report draws on enforcement and other data as well as analysis of changing migration trends and policies to tell this story. The authors outline key elements for a new strategy that can succeed over the long term.

Reports
July 2019

As technological developments—from automation to artificial intelligence and machine learning—reshape the world of work, governments face the challenge of updating how they attract, select, and retain economic-stream immigrants. This report, concluding a series on building migration systems for a new age of economic competitiveness, lays out the key considerations for "future-proofing" immigrant selection systems.

Reports
May 2019

Amid a significant reshaping of immigration policy by the Trump administration, a range of immigration topics that have not been at the forefront of debate merit further information sharing with the public and policymakers. This report examines eight issues areas that are deserving of additional review and could form the basis for future action by Congress, including H-1B reform and treatment of unaccompanied minors.

Reports
May 2019

In the two years since President Trump entered office, U.S. immigration policy has changed in many ways. Some actions have received significant media attention and public scrutiny, and others have been implemented with little fanfare. This document chronicles these wide-reaching policy changes, covering immigration enforcement, the immigration courts, humanitarian admissions, visa processing, and more.

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Fact Sheets
March 2020

Six million immigrant workers are at the frontlines of keeping U.S. residents healthy and fed during the COVID-19 pandemic, representing disproportionate shares of physicians, home health aides, and retail-store pharmacists, for example. They also are over-represented in sectors most immediately devastated by mass layoffs, yet many will have limited access to safety-net systems and to federal relief, as this fact sheet details.

Fact Sheets
May 2019

U.S. debates about immigration from Mexico often center on the low skilled, but this analysis shows a population in change. Nearly one in five Mexican immigrants arriving between 2013-17 had a college degree, compared to slightly more than 1 in 20 during the 1996-2000 period. Mexicans now make up the fourth-largest group of highly skilled immigrants. This fact sheet explores their characteristics at U.S. and Texas levels.

How Many Unauthorized Immigrants Graduate from U.S. High Schools Annually?
Fact Sheets
April 2019

A high school diploma has been a core requirement of proposed DREAM Act legislation and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Yet a fresh estimate of the number of unauthorized immigrants graduating annually from U.S. high schools has long been missing from the debate. This fact sheet provides up-to-date estimates for the United States and top 15 states, estimating 98,000 such students graduate yearly.

Immigrant-Origin Adults without Postsecondary Credentials: A 50-State Profile
Fact Sheets
March 2019

With immigrants and their U.S.-born children poised to be the main source of labor-force growth, these adults are an important target for efforts to build the skills of the U.S. workforce to meet the knowledge-based economy of tomorrow. This fact sheet and state data snapshots explore the characteristics of adults without an academic degree or professional credential, by immigrant generation, race/ethnicity, and more.

Fact Sheets
November 2018

This fact sheet and accompanying interactive data tools provide characteristics of the estimated 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States, using a unique MPI methodology that assigns legal status to U.S. Census Bureau data. The fact sheet and tools offer statistics on these immigrants’ origins, U.S. destinations, educational attainment, English proficiency, employment, income, home ownership, and more.

Fact Sheets
August 2018

States are in the midst of designing new policies to hold schools accountable for the education of English Learner (EL) students, as mandated by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This series of fact sheets sketches the characteristics of immigrant and EL students in 25 states, the gaps between their educational outcomes and those of their peers, and the accountability policies each state is developing.

Fact Sheets
November 2017

An average of 915 DACA recipients every day will lose their work authorization and protection from deportation once the phaseout of the program moves into full force in spring 2018, MPI estimates. This fact sheet also offers U.S. and state estimates of the school enrollment and educational attainment, workforce participation, and industries and occupations of employment for the nearly 690,000 current DACA holders.

Fact Sheets
October 2017

As the share of U.S. children under age 8 who are Dual Language Learners (DLLs) increases, state policies have an important role to play in ensuring all young learners are able to get their education off to a good start. These fact sheets compare key characteristics of DLLs and their peers nationwide and in 30 states, and identify state policies that support equitable access to high-quality early childhood education and care programs.

Fact Sheets
October 2017

With the Trump administration having announced the end of the DACA program, Congress is facing growing calls to protect unauthorized immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. This fact sheet examines DREAM Act bills introduced in Congress as of mid-2017, offering estimates of who might earn conditional legal status—and ultimately legal permanent residence—based on educational, professional, and other requirements in the legislation.

Fact Sheets
October 2017

2017 saw the introduction of several bills—two of them by Senate Republicans in the weeks following the Trump administration’s announcement that it would terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program—that would provide a pathway to conditional and then legal permanent residence to unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children, if they meet a range of educational, professional, and other criteria.

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Which English Learners Count When? Understanding State EL Subgroup Definitions in ESSA Reporting
Policy Briefs
March 2020

States publish a wealth of data about their English Learner students’ academic achievement and other outcomes such as graduation rates. But the answer to the question “Who is an EL?” is not always the same. This brief explains how the EL subgroup varies across states and types of data, and why it is important to understand these differences when making decisions about how ELs and schools are faring.

Policy Briefs
November 2019

Latinos and immigrants are at least twice as likely to lack health insurance coverage as the overall population in the Kansas City metropolitan area. This gap that has significant implications for the region, as Latinos and immigrants will form an ever-growing share of the area’s labor force and tax base amid anticipated declines in the native-born, non-Latino population.

Policy Briefs
August 2019

The U.S. immigration system is in desperate need of an overhaul. What has been missing is an alternate vision for a path forward that treats immigration as a strategic resource while also accounting for heightened security and rule-of-law imperatives, which together can further U.S. interests, values, and democratic principles as a society. This concept note outlines a new MPI initiative, Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy, that seeks to fill this gap.

Policy Briefs
August 2019

In the coming decades, the U.S. labor market will undergo major transformation. Automation, an aging workforce, and alternative staffing practices will change how, where, and by whom work is done. This think piece, by a former chief economist for the U.S. Labor Department, explores how immigrant workers fit into this changing landscape, and what immigration and workforce policy changes could help maximize their contributions to the U.S. economy.

Policy Briefs
August 2019

The U.S. economy is facing an uncertain future as an aging workforce, stagnating labor force participation, skill mismatches, and automation reshape the labor market. This issue brief explores these forces and the role that immigration could play in supporting future U.S. economic growth. It also examines how immigration affects workers already in the country, both native born and immigrant.

Policy Briefs
August 2019

Home visiting programs for young families are growing in popularity across the United States, and have demonstrated their effectiveness in supporting maternal health and child well-being. At the same time, more infants and toddlers are growing up in immigrant families and households where a language other than English is spoken. Why then are these children under-represented in these programs? This brief explores common barriers, ways to address them, and why it is important to do so.

Policy Briefs
June 2019

A complicated web of laws, policy guidance, and court rulings affect how English Learner (EL) and immigrant-background students are educated across the United States. This EL Insight sorts through them to highlight seven key ways the U.S. government protects the rights of these students to a K-12 education. It also highlights who can enforce these rules and how they can be seen in action.

Policy Briefs
May 2019

Noncitizens have long served in the U.S. military, often encouraged by the promise of a fast track to U.S. citizenship. In recent years, however, Congress and the Defense Department have made it more difficult for noncitizens to enlist. This brief give context to these policy changes and explores ways the military could better balance concerns about national security and the need for recruits with key cultural and professional skills.

Policy Briefs
April 2019

The first years of a child’s life are a time of immense growth, and exposure to trauma—if left unaddressed—can have significant, lifelong effects. This issue brief examines how young children of refugees and other immigrants may be affected by trauma, and what early childhood education and care programs, health-care providers, and others can do to mitigate its adverse effects.

Policy Briefs
November 2018

Most recent U.S. legal permanent residents could have found themselves at risk of green-card denial had they been assessed under a proposed Trump administration public-charge rule that would apply a significantly expanded test to determine likelihood of future public-benefits use. This analysis finds the effects would fall most heavily on women, children, and the elderly, while potentially shifting legal immigration away from Latin America.

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Books
June 2018

Wall or no wall, deeply intertwined social, economic, business, cultural, and personal relationships mean the U.S.-Mexico border is more like a seam than a barrier, weaving together two economies and cultures, as MPI President Andrew Selee sketches in this book, which draws from his travels and discussions with people from all walks of life in Mexico and the United States.

Books
July 2013

This edited volume develops a pragmatic approach to the engagement of highly skilled members of the diaspora for the benefit of their countries of origin. The book, edited by a World Bank senior economist, is based on empirical work in middle-income and high-income economies.

Books
March 2013

This volume, which brings together research by leading economists and labor market specialists, examines the role immigrants play in the U.S. workforce, how they fare in good and bad economic times, and the effects they have on native-born workers and the labor sectors in which they are engaged. The book traces the powerful economic forces at play in today’s globalized world and includes policy prescriptions for making the American immigration system more responsive to labor market needs.

Books
December 2012

This interdisciplinary volume examines the health, well-being, school readiness, and academic achievement of children in Black immigrant families (most with parents from Africa and the Caribbean)—a population that has had little academic attention even as it represents an increasing share of the U.S. Black child population.

Books
September 2011

This edited volume rigorously assesses the 1996 U.S. welfare reform law, questions whether its immigrant provisions were ever really necessary, and examines its impact on legal immigrants’ ability to integrate into American society.

Books
June 2011

This edited volume addresses the impact of the economic crisis in seven major immigrant-receiving countries: the United States, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. 

Books
April 2010

This volume, by a former senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission, argues that the U.S. approach to immigration and border security is off-kilter and not keeping pace with the scope and complexity of people’s movement around the world, nor with expectations regarding freedom of movement.

Books
January 2010

The book focuses on three case studies: the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. The volume includes chapters analyzing public opinion and media coverage of immigration issues in each country. Additional chapters propose strategies for unblocking opposition to thoughtful, effective immigration-related reforms.

Books
February 2007

Securing the Future seeks to define what policymakers and scholars mean by integration while attempting to sketch the contours of U.S. integration policy. The volume reviews evidence of immigrants’ integration by examining the progress of the second generation, as well as trends in education, health, the workforce, and citizenship.

Books
May 2005

Over the past four years, the United States has resettled far fewer refugees than it did in the 1990s. The decline has stemmed partly from post-9/11 security measures. But this book explains other, deeper reasons, deriving from changes in how and why refugees move, how asylum states receive them, and the world community's response. It also suggests steps to restore the program and better address real refugee needs.