Regions of Birth for Immigrants in the United States, 1960-Present

Regions of Birth for Immigrants in the United States, 1960-Present

This bar chart displays the immigrant population in the United States, between 1960 and 2019, by region of birth. The chart demonstrates the major shift in origins—from mostly European to predominantly Latin American and Asian, and more recently African—that occurred as a result of significant changes in U.S. immigration and refugee laws, the growing U.S. economic and military presence in Asia and Latin America, and economic transformations and political instability in key sending countries.


The term "immigrants" (also known as the foreign born) refers to people residing in the United States who were not U.S. citizens at birth. This population includes naturalized citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPRs), certain legal nonimmigrants (e.g., persons on student or work visas), those admitted under refugee or asylee status, and persons illegally residing in the United States.


Migration Policy Institute (MPI) tabulation of data from U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 and 2019 American Community Surveys (ACS), and 2000 Decennial Census; data for 1960 to 1990 were from Campbell J. Gibson and Emily Lennon, "Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-Born Population of the United States: 1850-1990" (Working Paper No. 29, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, D.C., February 1999).