E.g., 09/20/2021
E.g., 09/20/2021
Profile of the Unauthorized Population - NC

Profile of the Unauthorized Population:
North Carolina

DemographicsEstimate% of Total
Unauthorized Population 298,000 100%
Top Countries of Birth
Mexico 174,000 58%
Honduras 25,000 8%
El Salvador 20,000 7%
Guatemala 14,000 5%
India 12,000 4%
Regions of Birth
Mexico and Central America 234,000 79%
Caribbean 4,000 1%
South America 15,000 5%
Europe/Canada/Oceania 12,000 4%
Asia 26,000 9%
Africa 6,000 2%
Years of U.S. Residence
Less than 5 52,000 18%
5 to 9 50,000 17%
10 to 14 79,000 26%
15 to 19 85,000 29%
20 or more 32,000 11%
Under 16 15,000 5%
16 to 24 47,000 16%
25 to 34 91,000 30%
35 to 44 93,000 31%
45 to 54 38,000 13%
55 and over 14,000 5%
Female 132,000 44%
FamilyEstimate% of Total
Parental Status
Population ages 15 and older 284,000 100%
Reside with at least one U.S.-citizen child under 18 117,000 41%
Reside with noncitizen children only under 18 17,000 6%
Reside with no children 150,000 53%
Marital Status
Population ages 15 and older 284,000 100%
Never married 114,000 40%
Married to a U.S. citizen 36,000 12%
Married to a legal permanent resident (LPR) 18,000 6%
Married to non-U.S. citizen/non-LPR 76,000 27%
Divorced, separated, widowed 41,000 15%
Education and LanguageEstimate% of Total
School Enrollment of Children and Youth
Population ages 3 to 17 19,000 100%
Enrolled 16,000 88%
Not enrolled- -
Population ages 3 to 12 9,000 100%
Enrolled 7,000 83%
Not enrolled- -
Population ages 13 to 17 10,000 100%
Enrolled 9,000 92%
Not enrolled- -
Population ages 18 to 24 42,000 100%
Enrolled 13,000 32%
Not enrolled 29,000 68%
Educational Attainment of Adults
Population ages 25 and older 236,000 100%
0-5 grade 35,000 15%
6-8 grade 49,000 21%
9-12 grade 38,000 16%
High school diploma or equivalent 53,000 23%
Some college or associate’s degree 25,000 10%
Bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree 36,000 15%
English Proficiency
Population ages 5 and older 295,000 100%
Speak only English 20,000 7%
Speak English "very well" 80,000 27%
Speak English "well" 66,000 22%
Speak English "not well"/"not at all" 128,000 43%
Top 5 Languages Spoken at Home
Population ages 5 and older 295,000 100%
Spanish 239,000 81%
English 20,000 7%
Chinese 5,000 2%
-- -
-- -
WorkforceEstimate% of Total
Labor Force Participation
Civilian population ages 16 and older 282,000 100%
Employed 195,000 69%
Unemployed 12,000 4%
Not in the labor force 75,000 27%
Top Industries of Employment
Civilian employed population ages 16 and older 195,000 100%
Construction 59,000 30%
Accommodation and food services, arts, entertainment, and recreation 31,000 16%
Professional, scientific, management, administrative, and waste management services 26,000 13%
Manufacturing 23,000 12%
Retail trade 12,000 6%
EconomicsEstimate% of Total
Family Income
Below 50% of the poverty level 39,000 13%
50-99% of the poverty level 50,000 17%
100-149% of the poverty level 61,000 21%
150-199% of the poverty level 48,000 16%
At or above 200% of the poverty level 100,000 34%
Access to Health Insurance
Uninsured 205,000 69%
Home Ownership*
Homeowner 100,000 33%


Source: These 2018 data result from Migration Policy Institute (MPI) analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from the pooled 2014–18 American Community Survey (ACS) and the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), weighted to 2018 unauthorized immigrant population estimates provided by Jennifer Van Hook of The Pennsylvania State University.

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., international 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. Estimates of unauthorized immigrants are weighted to match control totals (benchmarks) for immigrants from a set of origin countries and world regions. These control totals are calculated by subtracting the number of legal immigrants from the total of all immigrants for each country and region that are captured in the ACS data. The number of legal immigrants is estimated by adding up all legal admissions from each country and region in every year—using Department of Homeland Security administrative data—and then reducing this number to account for deaths and emigration of legal immigrants. Finally, the unauthorized immigrant population estimates are adjusted upward slightly to account for the undercount of this population in the ACS.

MPI’s overall 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 MPI, “MPI Methodology for Assigning Legal Status to Noncitizen Respondents in U.S. Census Bureau Survey Data.” The control totals were developed by Jennifer Van Hook. These estimates have the same sampling and coverage errors as any other survey-based estimates that rely on ACS and other Census Bureau data.