E.g., 03/06/2021
E.g., 03/06/2021

U.S. Data

U.S. Data

More than 43 million people living in the United States—whether as naturalized citizen, legal permanent resident, temporary resident, or unauthorized immigrant—were born in another country, representing 13 percent of the U.S. population. Immigration has ebbed and flowed throughout U.S. history, peaking at nearly 15 percent of the population in 1890 and plummeting to 5 percent in 1970. The data-rich research offered here traces the U.S. immigrant population by size, educational and workforce characteristics, English language proficiency, and more.

For information on U.S. immigrants by state, check out the State Immigration Data Profiles tool. And for detailed profiles on unauthorized immigrants nationally and by state, visit this tool.

Recent Activity

People celebrating a Cuban Day Parade
Articles
COVID-19 and Unemployment: Assessing the Early Fallout for Immigrants and Other U.S. Workers
Fact Sheets
June 2020
By  Randy Capps, Jeanne Batalova and Julia Gelatt
Health-care workers
Articles
A young Venezuelan girl
Articles
Woman and child
Articles

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Fact Sheets
November 2018
By  Julia Gelatt and Jie Zong
Reports
September 2018
By  Randy Capps and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
Fact Sheets
August 2018
By  Julie Sugarman and Courtney Geary
Policy Briefs
May 2018
By  Julie Sugarman
Policy Briefs
April 2018
By  Kate Hooper and Brian Salant
Policy Briefs
March 2018
By  Sarah Pierce and Julia Gelatt
Reports
February 2018
By  Maki Park, Jie Zong and Jeanne Batalova

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Woman and child

Immigrant women and girls constituted slightly more than half of the 44.7 million immigrants in the United States in 2018. This is higher than the global average, likely because immigrants are more likely to enter the United States through family reunification channels rather than labor migration ones (which globally are predominantly male). This article offers a rich data profile on immigrant women and girls in the United States including age, education, employment, and poverty levels.

Flags fly at the Chicago airport

Interested in answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about immigration and immigrants in the United States? This incredible resource collects in one place top statistics from authoritative government and nongovernmental sources, offering a snapshot of the immigrant population, visa and enforcement statistics, and data on emerging trends, including the slowing of growth of the foreign-born population, changing origins, and increasing educational levels.

Group of people sit in a park in New York's Chinatown

Nearly 2.5 million Chinese immigrants lived in the United States in 2018—the third largest foreign-born population in the country. Chinese immigration has grown nearly seven-fold since 1980, and China became the top sending country of immigrants in the United States in 2018, replacing Mexico. Chinese immigrants tend to be highly educated and employed in management positions, as this Spotlight article explores.

Tourists in New York City

In fiscal year 2018, the U.S. State Department issued 9 million temporary visas, a 7 percent decrease from the previous year. Temporary visa issuance has been declining in recent years, and the Trump administration’s immigration priorities may help explain this trend. This Spotlight explores visa issuance and admission, and highlights key demographic information on visitors for pleasure and business, temporary workers, and foreign students.

 

A woman stands outside in front of a crowd of people

The sub-Saharan African immigrant population in the United States is a small, but quickly growing, one. Between 2010 and 2018, the size of the sub-Saharan African population increased 52 percent, far outpacing the overall rise in the foreign born. Immigrants coming from the 51 sub-Saharan countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, and Somalia, are diverse in their origins and socioeconomic characteristics, as this Spotlight explores.

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Video, Audio
December 7, 2011
A discussion on the gains that young adult immigrants or the U.S.-born children of immigrants have made in education and employment, with speakers: Michael Fix, Jeanne Batalova, Andrew P. Kelly, Raul Gonzalez, and Margie McHugh.
Audio
August 26, 2011

With the ten year anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks approaching, the Migration Policy Institute held a conference call to discuss the most significant changes that have occurred in the immigration arena in the decade since the attacks.

Audio
January 28, 2010

This panel discussion provided a brief overview of Mexican immigrants in the U.S., the role and function of Mexican consular officials in aiding this population, and reviewed the structure and foci of the Mexican government's Institute of Mexicans Abroad.

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Recent Activity

Articles

Cuban immigration to the United States has slowed in recent years, rising by 2 percent from 2017 to 2018. Overall, Cubans represent 3 percent of all immigrants in the United States. Compared to the overall foreign- and U.S.-born populations, Cuban immigrants are less likely to be proficient in English, have lower educational attainment, and earn lower household incomes. Learn more about the 1.3 million Cuban immigrants in the United States with this data-rich article.

Fact Sheets
June 2020

Even as the pandemic-induced loss of tens of millions of jobs over a period of weeks dealt a devastating blow across the United States, its effects were most pronounced on certain demographic groups: Immigrant women and, regardless whether they were born in or outside the United States, Latinos and workers with less than a high school degree or under age 25.

Articles

Immigrants make up a disproportionately high number of U.S. health-care workers, from doctors and nurses to home health aides. In 2018, more than 2.6 million immigrants worked in the U.S. health-care field. In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, immigrants have played a key role in the frontline response. This article explores the demographics of this group of essential workers by occupation, origin, language, education, and more.

Fact Sheets
May 2020

As millions of U.S. workers lose jobs and the health insurance associated with them, Medicaid and similar programs are increasingly important for people seeking COVID-19 testing and treatment. Yet many low-income uninsured noncitizens, including green-card holders, are excluded from such programs because of their immigration status, as this fact sheet explores.

Articles

Until recently, the Venezuelan immigrant population in the United States was relatively small compared others from South America. But it has grown significantly, reaching 394,000 in 2018, as Venezuela's destabilization has driven large-scale emigration. Compared to other immigrants in the United States, Venezuelans have higher levels of education but are also more likely to live in poverty, as this Spotlight explores.

Commentaries
April 2020

In a time of critical shortages of U.S. health-care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, retired doctors are being called back to work and medical students are graduating on a fast track. There is another important pool that could be tapped: Immigrants and refugees who have college degrees in health fields but are working in low-skilled jobs or out of work. MPI estimates 263,000 immigrants are experiencing skill underutilization and could be a valuable resource.

Fact Sheets
March 2020

Six million immigrant workers are at the frontlines of keeping U.S. residents healthy and fed during the COVID-19 pandemic, representing disproportionate shares of physicians, home health aides, and retail-store pharmacists, for example. They also are over-represented in sectors most immediately devastated by mass layoffs, yet many will have limited access to safety-net systems and to federal relief, as this fact sheet details.

Articles

Immigrant women and girls constituted slightly more than half of the 44.7 million immigrants in the United States in 2018. This is higher than the global average, likely because immigrants are more likely to enter the United States through family reunification channels rather than labor migration ones (which globally are predominantly male). This article offers a rich data profile on immigrant women and girls in the United States including age, education, employment, and poverty levels.

Pages