E.g., 12/04/2023
E.g., 12/04/2023
Profile of the Unauthorized Population - WA

Profile of the Unauthorized Population:

DemographicsEstimate% of Total
Unauthorized Population 246,000 100%
Top Countries of Birth
Mexico 139,000 57%
India 16,000 7%
Philippines 14,000 6%
China/Hong Kong 11,000 5%
Guatemala 9,000 4%
Regions of Birth
Mexico and Central America 160,000 65%
Caribbean- -
South America 6,000 2%
Europe/Canada/Oceania 19,000 8%
Asia 54,000 22%
Africa 7,000 3%
Years of U.S. Residence
Less than 5 57,000 23%
5 to 9 39,000 16%
10 to 14 50,000 20%
15 to 19 51,000 21%
20 or more 49,000 20%
Under 16 14,000 6%
16 to 24 38,000 15%
25 to 34 72,000 29%
35 to 44 67,000 27%
45 to 54 36,000 15%
55 and over 18,000 7%
Female 112,000 45%
FamilyEstimate% of Total
Parental Status
Population ages 15 and older 234,000 100%
Reside with at least one U.S.-citizen child under 18 88,000 38%
Reside with noncitizen children only under 18 17,000 7%
Reside with no children 129,000 55%
Marital Status
Population ages 15 and older 234,000 100%
Never married 90,000 38%
Married to a U.S. citizen 32,000 14%
Married to a legal permanent resident (LPR) 15,000 6%
Married to non-U.S. citizen/non-LPR 62,000 27%
Divorced, separated, widowed 35,000 15%
Education and LanguageEstimate% of Total
School Enrollment of Children and Youth
Population ages 3 to 17 17,000 100%
Enrolled 15,000 90%
Not enrolled- -
Population ages 3 to 12 9,000 100%
Enrolled 7,000 82%
Not enrolled- -
Population ages 13 to 17 8,000 100%
Enrolled 8,000 98%
Not enrolled- -
Population ages 18 to 24 34,000 100%
Enrolled 14,000 41%
Not enrolled 20,000 59%
Educational Attainment of Adults
Population ages 25 and older 194,000 100%
0-5 grade 29,000 15%
6-8 grade 30,000 16%
9-12 grade 28,000 14%
High school diploma or equivalent 41,000 21%
Some college or associate’s degree 26,000 13%
Bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree 40,000 21%
English Proficiency
Population ages 5 and older 244,000 100%
Speak only English 18,000 7%
Speak English "very well" 71,000 29%
Speak English "well" 56,000 23%
Speak English "not well"/"not at all" 98,000 40%
Top 5 Languages Spoken at Home
Population ages 5 and older 244,000 100%
Spanish 156,000 64%
English 18,000 8%
Tagalog 11,000 4%
Chinese 10,000 4%
Korean 5,000 2%
WorkforceEstimate% of Total
Labor Force Participation
Civilian population ages 16 and older 231,000 100%
Employed 156,000 68%
Unemployed 10,000 4%
Not in the labor force 65,000 28%
Top Industries of Employment
Civilian employed population ages 16 and older 156,000 100%
Agriculture 29,000 18%
Accommodation and food services, arts, entertainment, and recreation 22,000 14%
Professional, scientific, management, administrative, and waste management services 22,000 14%
Construction 21,000 14%
Retail trade 12,000 8%
EconomicsEstimate% of Total
Family Income
Below 50% of the poverty level 28,000 12%
50-99% of the poverty level 28,000 11%
100-149% of the poverty level 34,000 14%
150-199% of the poverty level 33,000 13%
At or above 200% of the poverty level 123,000 50%
Access to Health Insurance
Uninsured 119,000 49%
Home Ownership*
Homeowner 75,000 30%


Source: These 2019 data result from Migration Policy Institute (MPI) analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from the pooled 2015-19 American Community Survey (ACS) and the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), weighted to 2019 unauthorized immigrant population estimates provided by Jennifer Van Hook of The Pennsylvania State University.

Note: For U.S. and state 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.

Estimate for China includes Hong Kong but excludes Taiwan; estimate for Korea includes South Korea and North Korea.

“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.

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.

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.

 “-” estimates are zero, not applicable, or not displayed due to small sample size.

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 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.