E.g., 09/23/2020
E.g., 09/23/2020

Country Resource - United States

United States

US
  • Population.......................................................................332,639,102 (July 2020 est.)
  • Population growth rate ..................................................................0.72% (2020 est.)
  • Birth rate....................................................12.4 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
  • Death rate...................................................8.3 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
  • Net migration rate..................................3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 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)

Ethnic group note: a separate listing for Hispanic is not included because the US 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 US who may be of any race or ethnic group (white, black, Asian, etc.); an estimated 16.3% of the total US 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

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?

A woman stands outside in front of a crowd of people

The sub-Saharan African immigrant population in the United States is a small, but quickly growing, one. Between 2010 and 2018, the size of the sub-Saharan African population increased 52 percent, far outpacing the overall rise in the foreign born. Immigrants coming from the 51 sub-Saharan countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, and Somalia, are diverse in their origins and socioeconomic characteristics, as this Spotlight explores.

Protesters outside GEO Group detention facility

From online petitions to organized walkouts, corporate America is facing increasing employee activism over its business involvement with agencies implementing the federal government's immigration policies. This "cubicle activism," seen at companies ranging from Amazon and Google to Bank of America and Wayfair, has garnered mixed success to date, forcing divestiture from private prison contractors but fewer results in other contexts, as this article explores.

Boats along a river in the Darien Gap, Panama

Growing numbers of African and Asian migrants are moving through Latin America, many hoping to reach the United States or Canada after expensive, arduous, and often dangerous journeys that can take months or even years. As more extracontinental migrants transit through South and Central America, Colombia, Panama, and Costa Rica have developed the most comprehensive policies to manage these flows, sometimes working in coordination with the U.S. government.

Asylum seekers cross into Canada

Nearly 50,000 asylum seekers have entered Canada irregularly via land crossing from the United States since spring 2017—contributing to a doubling in the overall number of asylum requests seen in 2016. Based on interviews with asylum claimants, this article analyzes their motivations for making the journey and the political implications of rising irregular migration to Canada.

Outside of the Justice Department building

With a backlog of more than 1 million removal cases, the U.S. immigration court system is in crisis. Pressure from external forces, internal challenges, and lagging resources for the courts at a time of massive increases in spending on immigration enforcement have contributed to the backlog. This article explores how the system got to the breaking point, and what opportunities for reform exist.

An apprehended migrant sits in a truck with his hands in his face

Buoyed by initial successes challenging Trump administration immigration actions such as the travel ban in federal court, many critics expected the judiciary to act as a brake on major changes to the immigration system. Yet the Supreme Court has repeatedly shown a willingness to affirm the executive branch's immigration policies, most recently permitting what is arguably the most significant asylum policy change in four decades to proceed.

Two Brazilian men standing on a street

Approximately 450,000 Brazilian immigrants resided in the United States in 2017, an increase of nearly one-third since 2010. Representing 1 percent of the nation's 44.5 million immigrants, Brazilians tend to have higher educational attainment and household incomes compared to the overall foreign-born population. Get the latest data on Brazilians immigrants, including flows over time, geographic distribution, and more in this Spotlight.

Group of women and girls pose with Honduran flag

While much attention has been paid to recent Central American arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border, nearly half of the approximately 3.5 million Central Americans resident in the United States in 2017 arrived before 2000. About one-third are naturalized U.S. citizens, and they tend to participate in the labor force at a higher rate than foreign- and U.S.-born adults. Discover more about this population in this data-rich article.

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Reports
November 2018

Emotionally charged and anecdotal narratives about immigrants often seem to drown out arguments made on the basis of robust data and evidence. Why is that? This report explores how new technologies, the human brain, and political communication are reshaping the role of facts in public debates. The report concludes with an examination of what it takes to make the “expert consensus” resonate with skeptical publics.

Reports
November 2018

Nativist populism is both symptom and driver of the challenges facing many societies in Europe and the United States. And, as this Transatlantic Council Statement explores, it is reshaping political landscapes and immigration debates. Rebuilding public trust in governments’ ability to manage migration will require that policymakers actively address social and economic divisions and provide a credible alternative to populism.

Reports
November 2018

Dual Language Learners (DLLs) are a growing segment of the Minnesota young child population, and a particularly "superdiverse" one with myriad origins, cultures, and languages—a new reality other states and communities will face. Drawing on interviews with policymakers and service providers, as well as analysis of census data, this report examines what this incredible diversity means for the state’s early childhood policies and programs.

Reports
September 2018

The Houston metro area, home to 1.6 million immigrants, is diverse and rapidly growing. This report sketches the area's immigrant population, examining top origin countries, key socioeconomic measures, and more. It also explores how Hurricane Harvey affected the immigrant population, and how national policy changes under the Trump administration are being felt locally, including by DACA recipients and asylum seekers.

Reports
September 2018

The United States has a long tradition of providing asylum to those in need. But in recent years, case backlogs have grown and many asylum seekers now wait years for a decision. This report examines the factors that have brought the U.S. asylum system to this crisis point and proposes common-sense steps that can be taken to restore timeliness and fairness, while deterring abuses.

Reports
August 2018

Economists project a shortage of 5 million U.S. workers with postsecondary education and training by 2020. Yet 2 million immigrant college graduates in the United States are either unemployed or work in jobs that require no more than a high school degree. How can this skill underutilization, known as "brain waste," be remedied? MPI asked the experts, and this report summarizes their discussion and recommendations.

Reports
August 2018

Even as populist radical-right parties have experienced mixed electoral success, their ideas have gained traction in Europe and the United States. This report analyzes the economic, political, and social factors behind the rise in support for the radical-right agenda, and the impact of this trend on immigration policymaking and the broader political landscape on both sides of the Atlantic.

Reports
July 2018

President Trump has made reshaping the U.S. immigration system a top priority. Yet the fragmented nature of policy-making in the United States—with power split between branches and levels of government—has made it difficult to pursue some of his most ambitious proposals. This report explores the evolution of migration policy under Trump, and what these changes may mean in the long run.

Reports
June 2018

According to leaked drafts, the Trump administration is considering a rule that could have sweeping effects on both legal immigration to the United States and the use of public benefits by legal immigrants and their families. This report examines the potential scale of the expected rule’s impact, including at national and state levels and among children, as well as Hispanic and Asian American/Pacific Islander immigrants.

Reports
May 2018

The Trump administration has significantly cranked up the immigration enforcement machinery in the U.S. interior. Yet even as arrests and deportations are up in the early Trump months, they remain less than half their peaks. This report demonstrates how pushback from California and other "sanctuary" locations makes it quite unlikely that ICE will be able to match record enforcement levels.

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Fact Sheets
January 2016

This fact sheet uses U.S. and Mexican apprehensions data to trace the evolving trends in unaccompanied child and family migration from Central America through Mexico and to the United States, and discusses the push factors and pull factors responsible for the increase in flows seen in recent years, as well as the growing role of smuggling organizations.

Fact Sheets
January 2016

Growing up with unauthorized immigrant parents puts children—nearly 80 percent of whom were born in the United States—at a disadvantage, with lower preschool enrollment, reduced socioeconomic progress, and higher rates of linguistic isolation and poverty. This fact sheet examines the number, characteristics, and socioeconomic status of children, both U.S.-citizen and noncitizen, who have unauthorized immigrant parents.

Fact Sheets
October 2015

This fact sheet offers some key facts about the U.S. refugee resettlement program, which is the world's largest. It answers key questions such as how refugees fare in the labor market in the United States, how the current refugee admissions ceiling stacks up historically, and the types of screening would-be refugees go through before they are admitted to the United States.

Fact Sheets
June 2015

This fact sheet, drawing upon data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2013 American Community Survey and the U.S. Department of Education, describes the home languages spoken by English Language Learner (ELL) students at national and state levels, providing the top five languages by state.

Fact Sheets
June 2015

While English Language Learner (ELL) students are spread throughout the United States, their density, or the share they represent of total public school enrollment, varies greatly by state. This fact sheet, drawing upon data from the U.S. Department of Education, examines the states and districts with the highest shares and populations of ELL students and offers a detailed breakdown of some key statistics.

Fact Sheets
July 2014

MPI has produced profiles of 15 diaspora communities in the United States, gathering in one place key demographic data and analysis on diasporas from Bangladesh, Colombia, El Salvador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, India, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The profiles examine population size, educational attainment, household income, employment patterns, geographic distribution, and remittance volume.

Fact Sheets
May 2014

In a series of fact sheets focusing on the United States and a dozen key states, MPI assesses the extent of “brain waste”—that is, the number of college-educated immigrant and native-born adults ages 25 and older who are either unemployed or have jobs that are significantly below their education and skill levels.

Fact Sheets
August 2013

This fact sheet offers a detailed review of the comprehensive immigration reform legislation approved by the U.S. Senate in June 2013 and compares its major provisions with those of the five targeted immigration bills approved by the House Judiciary Committee and the House Homeland Security Committee.

Fact Sheets
April 2013

This fact sheet compares key components of immigration reform outlined in the 2013 Senate immigration bill against provisions included in bills considered by the Senate in 2006 and 2007: border security, detention, and enforcement; worksite enforcement; visa reforms; earned legalization of unauthorized immigrants; strengthening the U.S. economy and workforce; and integration of new Americans.

Fact Sheets
April 2013

MPI has completed an analysis of the major provisions in the 2013 framework, comparing them to provisions of the legislation the Senate considered in 2006 and 2007. 

This fact sheet is formatted as a chart comparing the framework of comprehensive immigration reform outlined in the 2013 Senate immigration bill against provisions included in bills considered by the Senate in 2006 and 2007.

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Policy Briefs
December 2017

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump made immigration the centerpiece of his campaign, offering a more detailed policy agenda than on any other issue. In the year since the election that propelled the Republican into the White House, how has the Trump administration’s record matched up with the rhetoric? This policy brief examines the executive orders and other changes to existing policy and practice made during 2017.

Policy Briefs
August 2017

U.S. agriculture has long relied on foreign-born workers to fill seasonal and labor-intensive jobs. But who are the immigrants who now make up three-fourths of hired workers on U.S. farms? This policy brief sketches a workforce that is aging and less reliant on unauthorized workers—and employers who are increasingly turning to mechanization and the H-2A guestworker program to fill gaps as Mexican migration slows.

Policy Briefs
August 2017

The future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is uncertain, amid skepticism from the Trump administration about its merits and the promise of legal challenge from ten state attorneys general. This issue brief presents a profile of young adults eligible for DACA in terms of their educational attainment and labor force participation, as well as what is at stake should the program be terminated.

Policy Briefs
August 2017

This issue brief offers community stakeholders a framework to evaluate state education accountabiilty plans to determine if they meet required English Learner (EL) accountability elements. The information that community stakeholders collect using this framework may be used to monitor implementation and adherence to state plans and to evaluate the efficacy of policies chosen by the state.

Policy Briefs
April 2017

On January 25, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order laying out a series of border enforcement mandates, including constructing a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and expanding the use of expedited removal. This brief summarizes and analyzes key provisions of the executive order and accompanying Department of Homeland Security implementation guidance, comparing them to earlier policy and practice.

Policy Briefs
March 2017

This brief examines President Trump's revised executive order issued in March 2017, replacing an earlier legally contested version suspending travel from certain majority-Muslim countries and pausing the U.S. refugee resettlement program. The brief compares the revised executive order to provisions of the original one, as well as to prior policy and practice.

Policy Briefs
February 2017

This brief examines key provisions of President Trump's recent executive order suspending travel from certain majority-Muslim countries and pausing the U.S. refugee resettlement program, comparing them to current and earlier policy and practice. Presented in an easy-to-use side-by-side chart, the brief gives context to the executive order, which has drawn major scrutiny.

Policy Briefs
February 2017

This brief outlines key provisions in an executive order signed by President Trump that makes sweeping changes to immigration enforcement in the U.S. interior, including significantly broadening the categories of unauthorized immigrants who are priorities for removal. The brief examines the executive order and accompanying Department of Homeland Security guidance, comparing them to prior policy and practice.

Policy Briefs
August 2016

At the fourth anniversary of the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, this issue brief describes the populations eligible for DACA as of 2016; discusses recent policy developments; presents trends in DACA requests and application rates nationwide, by state, and for top countries of origin; and examines the impacts that DACA has had on qualifying young unauthorized immigrants.

Policy Briefs
July 2016

Twenty-five years after enactment of the Immigration Act of 1990, the law remains the framework for the current U.S. legal immigration system. This issue brief examines the legislation, which sought to admit more immigrants based on their skills and education, finding it has only modestly increased the employment-based immigration share. The law also created the diversity visa program and Temporary Protected Status.

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