E.g., 08/04/2020
E.g., 08/04/2020

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.

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November 2019
By Randy Capps and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
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November 2018
By Caitlin Katsiaficas and Maki Park
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November 2018
By Randy Capps, Mark Greenberg, Michael Fix, and Jie Zong
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November 2018
By Julia Gelatt and Jie Zong
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September 2018
By Randy Capps and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
Fact Sheets
August 2018
By Julie Sugarman and Courtney Geary
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May 2018
By Julie Sugarman

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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.

Two Brazilian men standing on a street

Approximately 450,000 Brazilian immigrants resided in the United States in 2017, an increase of nearly one-third since 2010. Representing 1 percent of the nation's 44.5 million immigrants, Brazilians tend to have higher educational attainment and household incomes compared to the overall foreign-born population. Get the latest data on Brazilians immigrants, including flows over time, geographic distribution, and more in this Spotlight.

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Video, Audio
June 26, 2015

A discussion of the findings of a new MPI report examining refugee characteristics at arrival for the ten largest national-origin groups resettled between 2002-2013, as well as their integration outcomes with respect to employment and incomes, English proficiency and education levels, and public benefit use.

Video, Audio
February 12, 2015

A report release examining PIAAC data on the skills of U.S. immigrant adults and whether there is a gap with native-born adults, and discussion of how these skills relate to key immigrant integration outcomes such as employment, income, access to training, and health.

Video, Audio
May 6, 2013

A panel discussion on the release of the Regional Migration Study Group's final report, Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration & Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America, outlining its findings and offering recommendations to policymakers in the region.

Video, Audio
August 7, 2012

Join MPI as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas discusses the application process and policies that the agency has announced to implement the administration’s deferred action program.

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.

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Recent Activity

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.

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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.

Articles

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.

Articles

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.

Articles

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.

 

Policy Briefs
November 2019

Latinos and immigrants are at least twice as likely to lack health insurance coverage as the overall population in the Kansas City metropolitan area. This gap that has significant implications for the region, as Latinos and immigrants will form an ever-growing share of the area’s labor force and tax base amid anticipated declines in the native-born, non-Latino population.

Articles

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.

Articles

Approximately 450,000 Brazilian immigrants resided in the United States in 2017, an increase of nearly one-third since 2010. Representing 1 percent of the nation's 44.5 million immigrants, Brazilians tend to have higher educational attainment and household incomes compared to the overall foreign-born population. Get the latest data on Brazilians immigrants, including flows over time, geographic distribution, and more in this Spotlight.

Pages