E.g., 08/10/2020
E.g., 08/10/2020

Profile of the Unauthorized Population - County Data

Profile of the Unauthorized Population:
Cook County, IL

DemographicsEstimate% of Total
Unauthorized Population 307,000 100%
Top Countries of Birth
Mexico 190,000 62%
Poland 16,000 5%
India 10,000 3%
Philippines 10,000 3%
China 9,000 3%
Regions of Birth
Mexico and Central America 202,000 66%
South America 11,000 4%
Europe/Canada/Oceania 33,000 11%
Asia 51,000 17%
Africa 8,000 2%
Years of U.S. Residence
Less than 5 45,000 15%
5 to 9 52,000 17%
10 to 14 72,000 23%
15 to 19 62,000 20%
20 or more 75,000 25%
Under 16 17,000 6%
16 to 24 41,000 13%
25 to 34 82,000 27%
35 to 44 77,000 25%
45 to 54 46,000 15%
55 and over 44,000 14%
Female 140,000 46%
FamilyEstimate% of Total
Parental Status
Population ages 15 and older 292,000 100%
Reside with at least one U.S.-citizen child under 18 84,000 29%
Reside with noncitizen children only under 18 18,000 6%
Reside with no children 191,000 65%
Marital Status
Population ages 15 and older 292,000 100%
Never married 121,000 42%
Married to a U.S. citizen 31,000 11%
Married to a legal permanent resident (LPR) 22,000 7%
Married to non-U.S. citizen/non-LPR 62,000 21%
Divorced, separated, widowed 56,000 19%
Education and LanguageEstimate% of Total
School Enrollment of Children and Youth
Population ages 3 to 17 24,000 100%
Enrolled 22,000 91%
Not enrolled--
Population ages 3 to 12 9,000 100%
Enrolled 8,000 89%
Not enrolled--
Population ages 13 to 17 15,000 100%
Enrolled 14,000 93%
Not enrolled--
Population ages 18 to 24 33,000 100%
Enrolled 13,000 40%
Not enrolled 20,000 60%
Educational Attainment of Adults
Population ages 25 and older 248,000 100%
0-5 grade 21,000 9%
6-8 grade 45,000 18%
9-12 grade 30,000 12%
High school diploma or GED 74,000 30%
Some college or associate’s degree 34,000 14%
Bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree 43,000 17%
English Proficiency
Population ages 5 and older 304,000 100%
Speak only English 20,000 6%
Speak English "very well" 89,000 29%
Speak English "well" 70,000 23%
Speak English "not well"/"not at all" 126,000 41%
Top 5 Languages Spoken at Home
Population ages 5 and older 304,000 100%
Spanish 205,000 67%
English 20,000 6%
Polish 15,000 5%
Chinese 10,000 3%
Tagalog 8,000 3%
WorkforceEstimate% of Total
Labor Force Participation
Civilian population ages 16 and older 289,000 100%
Employed 198,000 68%
Unemployed 16,000 6%
Not in the labor force 75,000 26%
Top Industries of Employment
Civilian employed population ages 16 and older 198,000 100%
Manufacturing 43,000 22%
Accommodation and food services, arts, entertainment, and recreation 43,000 22%
Professional, scientific, management, administrative, and waste management services 32,000 16%
Construction 20,000 10%
Retail trade 19,000 10%
EconomicsEstimate% of Total
Family Income
Below 50% of the poverty level 29,000 10%
50-99% of the poverty level 43,000 14%
100-149% of the poverty level 50,000 16%
150-199% of the poverty level 48,000 16%
At or above 200% of the poverty level 136,000 44%
Access to Health Insurance
Uninsured 156,000 51%
Home Ownership*
Homeowner 114,000 37%


Source: Migration Policy Institute (MPI) analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from the pooled 2012-16 American Community Survey (ACS) and the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), drawing on a methodology developed in consultation with James Bachmeier of Temple University and Jennifer Van Hook of The Pennsylvania State University, Population Research Institute.

Note: For U.S., state, and county estimates of the unauthorized population potentially eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, click here.

Data-related notes
* “Homeowners” are unauthorized immigrants residing in homes that are owned, not rented.

+ Includes the following Colorado counties: Adams, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Douglas, Elbert, Gilpin, and Jefferson, as well as portions of Arapahoe, Boulder, and Weld counties.

++ NECTAs refer to New England City and Town Areas, geographic entities defined by the U.S. Census Bureau for use as alternatives to counties in the six-state New England region.

  1. Estimate for China includes Hong Kong but excludes Taiwan; estimate for Korea includes South Korea and North Korea.
  2. “School Enrollment of Children and Youth” refers to unauthorized immigrants who reported attending school or college at any time in the three months prior to the survey.
  3. For languages, “Chinese” includes Mandarin, Cantonese, and other Chinese languages; “English” includes English, Jamaican Creole, Krio, Pidgin Krio, and other English-based Creole languages; “French” includes French, Patois, and Cajun; “Pacific Island languages” includes Ilocano, Samoan, Hawaiian, Sebuano, Chamorro, Guamanian, Marshallese, Trukese, Tongan, and other Austronesian languages, but excludes Tagalog and Filipino, which are reported separately; “Portuguese” includes Portuguese and Cape Verdean Creole; “Sub-Saharan African” includes Swahili or other Bantu languages, Mande, Fulani, Kru, and other unspecified African languages; “Tagalog” includes Tagalog and Filipino.
  4. For industries, “Other services” are miscellaneous services, not including the following services listed separately: (1) professional, scientific, management, administrative, and waste management services; (2) educational services; (3) health and social services; and (4) accommodation and food services, arts, entertainment, and recreation.
  5.  “-” estimates are zero, not applicable, or not displayed due to small sample size.
  6. Percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

Methodology in Brief:
MPI’s method uses information from the SIPP to assign legal status to noncitizens in the ACS. In the SIPP, noncitizens report whether they currently have lawful permanent resident (LPR) status—i.e., a green card. Those without LPR status may be recent refugees, temporary visitors (e.g., students or high-skilled H-1B workers), or unauthorized immigrants. Our method maps characteristics such as country of birth, year of U.S. entry, age, gender, and educational attainment between the two surveys, and those noncitizens in the ACS who have characteristics similar to those reporting LPR status in the SIPP are coded as LPRs in the ACS. The remaining noncitizens—who are similar in characteristics to those not reporting LPR status in the SIPP—are classified as either unauthorized or legal temporary migrants, depending on whether they meet the qualifications for H-1B and the other temporary visa classifications. This method was developed in consultation with James Bachmeier of Temple University and Jennifer Van Hook of The Pennsylvania State University, Population Research Institute. For more detail on the methods, see Jeanne Batalova, Sarah Hooker, Randy Capps, and James D. Bachmeier, DACA at the Two-Year Mark: A National and State Profile of Youth Eligible and Applying for Deferred Action (Washington, DC: MPI, 2014). Please note that these estimates use commonly accepted benchmarks from other research studies to determine the size of the unauthorized population and response rates to surveys. These estimates have the same sampling and coverage errors as any other survey-based estimates that rely on ACS and other Census Bureau data.