Migration Information Source
Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Hur/DOD
Want to check a fact about U.S. immigration? Interested in putting recent trends into perspective? This article compiles authoritative, up-to-date information about the U.S. immigrant population and how it has changed over time. Data cover immigrants' demographic, educational, and linguistic characteristics; their top states of residence; enforcement activities; refugees and asylum seekers; naturalization trends; visa backlogs; and more.
A political crisis marked by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s growing authoritarianism has sparked the largest emigration in the country’s modern history. Hundreds of thousands have fled, including intellectuals, artists, and academics. They increasingly are heading beyond the traditional destination of Costa Rica, to the United States and beyond, as this article details.
Can haphazard, unplanned climate displacement be turned into voluntary, safe migration? Projects explicitly aimed at addressing internal and international climate migration are rare, but development organizations increasingly are turning their attention to supporting them. This article catalogues climate mobility projects around the world and examines their primary goals, whether to support the movement or stay of people or help at destination.
Pandemic-related U.S. policies have led to more than 2.6 million migrant expulsions at the U.S.-Mexico border, expanded public benefits to cover millions more U.S. residents, and offered free COVID-19 vaccines and treatment. Many of these policies are now likely to end as the Biden administration in May 2023 formally declares the pandemic to be over, although what comes next remains unclear.
© UNHCR/Nicolo Filippo Rosso
Venezuelans comprise one of the fastest-growing immigrant groups in the United States, nearly tripling in size from 2010 to 2021. Much of this migration has been fueled by crisis in Venezuela, where political unrest and economic strife have caused millions to flee since 2015, most remaining in Latin America. Venezuelan immigrants are far more likely than the overall foreign- and U.S.-born populations to have a college degree. Take an in-depth look at this immigrant population.
Millions of immigrants fill key sectors in Russia’s economy, help offset its demographic challenges, and support origin communities, particularly in Central Asia. Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, many have also been pressured into joining the military, and meanwhile face continued marginalization by Russian society. This article outlines the key issues facing these migrants, some of which have been complicated by the fallout from the war.
Whether as migrant-sending or migrant-receiving locations—or both—many countries have rich, complex international and internal migration histories. MPI's online journal, the Migration Information Source, offers resources on more than 100 nations. Written by leading scholars, these articles delve into countries' migration histories, demographics, policymaking, and more.
Severe weather, rising seas, and other consequences of global climate change are affecting the way people live, work, and move around the planet. While there is no clear, direct line between the impacts of climate change and changing human movement, there are indications that the warming planet is indirectly creating or altering patterns of migration. Our podcast Changing Climate, Changing Migration dives deep into the intersection of climate change and migration to separate fact from fiction.
Looking for some of the most often-sought information on global migration? This statistics-rich article draws on the most current data sources to offer a primer on international migration, highlighting its types, the size of the migrant population and growth over time, and major sending and receiving countries and regions. Beyond looking at labor and humanitarian migrants and international students, the article examines remittances and more.
Operations by Texas, Florida, and Arizona to bus or fly asylum seekers and other migrants to Washington, DC, Martha's Vineyard, and other cities have succeeded in drawing attention to the unprecedented pace of U.S.-Mexico border arrivals. Described by some as political pawns, many migrants say the trips have upsides. Consequences aside, the transport of migrants by Republican governors raises the question whether a new era has begun: state-on-state fights over immigration.
Romanians comprise the second largest immigrant community in Spain. This population grew at a dramatic rate during the early 2000s, driven by a variety of economic, policy, and other factors. The number of Romanian immigrants peaked in 2012 and has steadily declined ever since. This article analyzes the drivers behind the growth and relative decline of this population and its role in the Spanish labor force.
COVID-19 and restrictive policies from the Trump administration led to the most dramatic slowdown of temporary immigration to the United States in years, as fewer tourists, temporary workers, and international students arrived. This article reviews the trends in issuance of nonimmigrant visas and arrivals of temporary visitors, including the numbers issued annually over the past five years and the top countries of origin.
Disinformation and misinformation about migrants, refugees, and minority groups adapts to the shifting news cycle while also appealing to people’s pre-existing convictions and current worries. Events such as the war in Ukraine act as a catalyst, enabling coordinated groups to grab people’s attention, stoke fears, and in some cases even dictate political discourse. This article traces the long history of conspiracy theories around immigrants and how they spread today.
In 2022, the United States joined a growing list of countries that allow for a third gender option (the “X” marker) in passports. This article examines the introduction of the X marker, the impacts of third gender markers for transgender and nonbinary travelers and migrants as well as border management systems, and the evolving policy landscape ahead.
Requirements that international travelers and migrants prove vaccination against certain diseases are about as old as vaccines themselves. In some cases, vaccine certificates predated the existence of government-issued passports. This article explores the history of these requirements, which began with smallpox and have since been applied for diseases including cholera, polio, yellow fever, and, recently, COVID-19.
What’s in a name? Terms used to refer to people crossing international borders are frequently debated and often evolve, amid efforts to shape the narrative and changing political realities. This article explores the history and evolving use of terms such as "migrant," "refugee," "illegal immigrant," "unauthorized immigrant," and more.
The number of border walls globally has multiplied at a rapid clip, from fewer than five at the end of World War II to more than six dozen now, with more under construction. Most of the world's border fortifications have been built since the turn of the millennium, and are intended to accomplish a range of functions. This article charts the remarkable growth and normalization of border walls globally.
The 4.3 million Black immigrants in the United States come largely from the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa. This article offers insights about rates of poverty, health insurance, and other metrics for Black immigrants both nationally and in the top five major cities of residence, finding that policies at federal and local levels, as well as the legacy of historical Black disenfranchisement, can exaggerate or reduce some of the gaps with U.S.-born White residents.
Artificial intelligence systems that promise speedier travel and improved tools to halt smuggling and detect illegal entry have been embraced by border officials across the globe. But critics contend they also pose serious privacy concerns, which may become more pronounced as technologies evolve. This article examines the challenges and promises.
The United States is home to the largest population of Iranian migrants in the world. More than half of Iranian immigrants in the United States live in California. This article explores key details of this immigrant population, which is older, more highly educated, and has significantly higher median household incomes than the U.S.-born and overall immigrant populations.
The United States and Canada share the world's longest land border and similar cultures. But Canadians account for a tiny and shrinking share of all U.S. immigrants. Canadian immigrants tend to have higher educations and be older than other immigrant groups. This Spotlight explores the history and features of the Canadian immigrant population in the United States.
The United States historically led the world in refugee resettlement, but was surpassed by Canada in 2018—and U.S. refugee admissions fell to a record low 12,000 in 2020. With the country now on course to rebuild resettlement capacity, this article examines the U.S. refugee and asylee populations and how they have changed over time, including key demographic characteristics.
Immigrants from the Dominican Republic are the fourth-largest Hispanic immigrant group in the United States, and number nearly 1.2 million people. This population has increased almost tenfold since 1960, but remains mostly concentrated in just a few metro areas. This article provides an overview of Dominican immigrants in the United States.
Nearly one-third of all immigrants in the United States come from Asia, and Asian countries such as India, China, and the Philippines are the origin for a growing number of foreign-born U.S. residents. Compared to overall immigrants and the U.S. born, the foreign born from Asia tend to earn higher incomes, work in management jobs, and have higher levels of education, as this article explores.
Long a country of emigration—13 million Italians went abroad between 1880 and 1915—Italy has also experienced significant inflows of Middle Eastern and sub-Saharan African workers in recent decades. Italy has also been on the frontlines of Europe's refugee crisis. This country profile examines Italy's shifting migration patterns, policy responses over time, and debates.
In the Philippines, a pervasive culture of migration has led millions to seek opportunities abroad, particularly since an economic downturn in the 1970s. The government has long embraced exporting labor as official economic policy, but over time, the focus has shifted: first to protecting workers overseas and much more recently to linking migration and development. This article explores the evolution of Filipino migration policy and trends.
The Cuban Revolution unleashed a massive exodus from the island. Cuba is now among the top origin countries of immigrants in the United States—where for decades they have received preferential treatment—with smaller numbers across Europe and Latin America. This article explores the evolution of Cuban migration, particularly within the context of the Cold War and shifting U.S. policies toward the country.
The history of dynamic migration flows throughout the Soviet Union pre- and post-collapse has significantly shaped the current migration reality in Russia. Even as borders have shifted and policies changed, inflows and outflows still occur mostly within the former Soviet space. As this article explores, Russia has worked in recent decades to strengthen its migration management system and update its residence and citizenship policies.
Colombia has more internally displaced persons (IDPs) than any other country in the world, the result of a 52-year civil war. Beyond improving the lives of its 7.3 million IDPs, the country faces a number of crucial migration issues as it works to achieve stability in the wake of an historic peace accord signed in late 2016. This country profile examines historical trends and current and future migration challenges in Colombia.
President Joe Biden has grand ambitions to reshape the U.S. immigration system, but his administration has run into early stumbling blocks in rolling back the strict enforcement regime of his predecessor. Administrative resistance, a tangled web of legal agreements signed by the Trump administration, and anxieties about a possible uptick in immigrants and asylum seekers at the border have posed early challenges to Biden’s agenda.
The Biden administration has set the pace for what could be the most active first 100 days on immigration policy by any White House in recent memory—even that of predecessor Donald Trump. The efforts, which represent a dramatic break from the Trump administration's view of immigration as threat, are likely to meet stiff opposition on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. This article evaluates Biden's early actions and what they suggest about the White House's ambitions on immigration.
Despite a widespread perception that the Trump administration has drastically slashed legal immigration to the United States, a review of the data shows that temporary and permanent admissions during the period mostly followed previous trends—at least until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. This article examines trends in temporary, permanent, and humanitarian admissions during the administration, and the related policies that could take a more significant bite ahead if left unchanged.
Before entering office, President Donald Trump promised to deport millions of unauthorized immigrants. Yet despite his general successes in creating a more restrictive and punitive immigration system, this goal has eluded his administration. So-called “sanctuary” policies implemented by state and local governments to limit their cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have been a key reason why arrests and removals have not reached earlier peaks.
In the United States, Republicans and Democrats are deeply divided on immigration. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have offered sharply diverging policy positions, and the outcome of the election is sure to have profound consequences for the U.S. immigration system. Yet this partisan divide is relatively new. Just two decades ago, the parties were much more united on immigrants’ role in the U.S. economy and society.