E.g., 11/26/2020
E.g., 11/26/2020

Profile of the Unauthorized Population - US

Profile of the Unauthorized Population:
United States

DemographicsEstimate% of Total
Unauthorized Population 10,977,000 100%
Top Countries of Birth
Mexico 5,572,000 51%
El Salvador 750,000 7%
Guatemala 588,000 5%
India 469,000 4%
Honduras 402,000 4%
Regions of Birth
Mexico and Central America 7,425,000 68%
Caribbean 406,000 4%
South America 783,000 7%
Europe/Canada/Oceania 648,000 6%
Asia 1,485,000 14%
Africa 230,000 2%
Years of U.S. Residence
Less than 5 2,309,000 21%
5 to 9 2,059,000 19%
10 to 14 2,564,000 23%
15 to 19 2,512,000 23%
20 or more 1,532,000 14%
Age
Under 16 593,000 5%
16 to 24 1,706,000 16%
25 to 34 3,297,000 30%
35 to 44 3,077,000 28%
45 to 54 1,498,000 14%
55 and over 805,000 7%
Gender
Female 5,073,000 46%
FamilyEstimate% of Total
Parental Status
Population ages 15 and older 10,460,000 100%
Reside with at least one U.S.-citizen child under 18 3,704,000 35%
Reside with noncitizen children only under 18 704,000 7%
Reside with no children 6,052,000 58%
Marital Status
Population ages 15 and older 10,460,000 100%
Never married 4,093,000 39%
Married to a U.S. citizen 1,595,000 15%
Married to a legal permanent resident (LPR) 675,000 6%
Married to non-U.S. citizen/non-LPR 2,528,000 24%
Divorced, separated, widowed 1,570,000 15%
Education and LanguageEstimate% of Total
School Enrollment of Children and Youth
Population ages 3 to 17 737,000 100%
Enrolled 661,000 90%
Not enrolled 76,000 10%
Population ages 3 to 12 359,000 100%
Enrolled 308,000 86%
Not enrolled 51,000 14%
Population ages 13 to 17 378,000 100%
Enrolled 353,000 93%
Not enrolled 25,000 7%
Population ages 18 to 24 1,527,000 100%
Enrolled 634,000 42%
Not enrolled 893,000 58%
Educational Attainment of Adults
Population ages 25 and older 8,677,000 100%
0-5 grade 1,160,000 13%
6-8 grade 1,330,000 15%
9-12 grade 1,289,000 15%
High school diploma or equivalent 2,117,000 24%
Some college or associate’s degree 1,110,000 13%
Bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree 1,671,000 19%
English Proficiency
Population ages 5 and older 10,890,000 100%
Speak only English 848,000 8%
Speak English "very well" 2,919,000 27%
Speak English "well" 2,476,000 23%
Speak English "not well"/"not at all" 4,648,000 43%
Top 5 Languages Spoken at Home
Population ages 5 and older 10,890,000 100%
Spanish 7,908,000 73%
English 855,000 8%
Chinese 384,000 4%
Tagalog 186,000 2%
Portuguese 138,000 1%
WorkforceEstimate% of Total
Labor Force Participation
Civilian population ages 16 and older 10,378,000 100%
Employed 6,803,000 66%
Unemployed 484,000 5%
Not in the labor force 3,090,000 30%
Top Industries of Employment
Civilian employed population ages 16 and older 6,803,000 100%
Construction 1,352,000 20%
Accommodation and food services, arts, entertainment, and recreation 1,158,000 17%
Professional, scientific, management, administrative, and waste management services 956,000 14%
Manufacturing 650,000 10%
Retail trade 566,000 8%
EconomicsEstimate% of Total
Family Income
Below 50% of the poverty level 1,305,000 12%
50-99% of the poverty level 1,516,000 14%
100-149% of the poverty level 1,869,000 17%
150-199% of the poverty level 1,520,000 14%
At or above 200% of the poverty level 4,768,000 43%
Access to Health Insurance
Uninsured 5,716,000 52%
Home Ownership*
Homeowner 3,202,000 29%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Source: Migration Policy Institute (MPI) analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from the 2014-18 American Community Survey (ACS) pooled, 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., 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.