E.g., 10/25/2020
E.g., 10/25/2020

Profile of the Unauthorized Population - County Data

Profile of the Unauthorized Population:
Cameron County, TX

DemographicsEstimate% of Total
Unauthorized Population 40,000 100%
Top Countries of Birth
Mexico 38,000 95%
Regions of Birth
Mexico and Central America 39,000 97%
South America--
Years of U.S. Residence
Less than 5 5,000 13%
5 to 9 6,000 15%
10 to 14 10,000 24%
15 to 19 6,000 16%
20 or more 12,000 31%
Under 16 3,000 8%
16 to 24 6,000 14%
25 to 34 7,000 17%
35 to 44 8,000 21%
45 to 54 8,000 21%
55 and over 7,000 18%
Female 22,000 55%
FamilyEstimate% of Total
Parental Status
Population ages 15 and older 37,000 100%
Reside with at least one U.S.-citizen child under 18 13,000 35%
Reside with noncitizen children only under 18 3,000 9%
Reside with no children 21,000 56%
Marital Status
Population ages 15 and older 37,000 100%
Never married 11,000 29%
Married to a U.S. citizen 8,000 21%
Married to a legal permanent resident (LPR) 3,000 7%
Married to non-U.S. citizen/non-LPR 8,000 21%
Divorced, separated, widowed 8,000 21%
Education and LanguageEstimate% of Total
School Enrollment of Children and Youth
Population ages 3 to 17 4,000 100%
Enrolled 4,000 92%
Not enrolled--
Population ages 3 to 12--
Not enrolled--
Population ages 13 to 17 3,000 100%
Enrolled 2,000 94%
Not enrolled--
Population ages 18 to 24 5,000 100%
Not enrolled 3,000 69%
Educational Attainment of Adults
Population ages 25 and older 31,000 100%
0-5 grade 5,000 17%
6-8 grade 7,000 21%
9-12 grade 7,000 22%
High school diploma or GED 6,000 18%
Some college or associate’s degree 4,000 13%
Bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree 3,000 9%
English Proficiency
Population ages 5 and older 39,000 100%
Speak only English 3,000 6%
Speak English "very well" 9,000 22%
Speak English "well" 5,000 13%
Speak English "not well"/"not at all" 23,000 58%
Top 5 Languages Spoken at Home
Population ages 5 and older 39,000 100%
Spanish 36,000 92%
English 3,000 6%
WorkforceEstimate% of Total
Labor Force Participation
Civilian population ages 16 and older 36,000 100%
Employed 18,000 50%
Unemployed 3,000 7%
Not in the labor force 16,000 43%
Top Industries of Employment
Civilian employed population ages 16 and older 18,000 100%
Health services and social assistance 3,000 18%
Retail trade 3,000 16%
Accommodation and food services, arts, entertainment, and recreation 3,000 15%
Construction 3,000 14%
Professional, scientific, management, administrative, and waste management services 2,000 13%
EconomicsEstimate% of Total
Family Income
Below 50% of the poverty level 10,000 25%
50-99% of the poverty level 9,000 24%
100-149% of the poverty level 7,000 18%
150-199% of the poverty level 5,000 12%
At or above 200% of the poverty level 9,000 22%
Access to Health Insurance
Uninsured 29,000 73%
Home Ownership*
Homeowner 22,000 55%


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.