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July 9, 2021
What is the immigrant population in the United States?

Immigrants comprise almost 14 percent of the U.S. population, or more than 44 million people out of a total of about 327 million, according to the Census Bureau.

Together, immigrants and their U.S.-born children make up about 28 percent of U.S. inhabitants. The figure represents a steady rise from 1970, when there were fewer than ten million immigrants in the United States.

But there are proportionally fewer immigrants today than in 1890, when foreign-born residents comprised 15 percent of the population. Mexico is the most common country of origin for U.S. immigrants — constituting 25 percent of the immigrant population — but the proportion of immigrants from South and East Asia — who number about 27 percent — is on the rise.

Undocumented immigration. The undocumented population is about eleven million and has leveled off since the 2008 economic crisis, which led some to return to their home countries and discouraged others from coming to the United States. During the 2019 fiscal year, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported more than double the number of people apprehended or stopped at the southern border than in 2018. Still, southern border apprehensions remain well below [PDF] their levels in prior decades.

More than half of undocumented immigrants have lived in the United States for more than a decade; nearly one-third are the parents of U.S.-born children, according to the Pew Research Center. Central Americans seeking asylum, which is protected under U.S. law, make up a growing share of those who cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Some of these immigrants have different legal rights from Mexican nationals in the United States: under a 2008 anti–human trafficking law, unaccompanied minors from noncontiguous countries have a right to a hearing before being deported to their home countries. The spike in Central American migration has strained the U.S. immigration system, with more than one million cases pending in immigration courts.

Did you know that 30% of US doctors are foreign born?

Source: Council on Foreign Relations


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