Category Archives: Immigration

Immigrants in the United States, 2007: A Profile of America’s Foreign-Born Population

Source: Center for Immigration Studies

This Backgrounder provides a detailed picture of the number and socio-economic status of the nation’s immigrant or foreign-born population, both legal and illegal. The data was collected by the Census Bureau in March 2007.

Among the report’s findings:
• The nation’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) reached a record of 37.9 million in 2007.
• Immigrants account for one in eight U.S. residents, the highest level in 80 years. In 1970 it was one in 21; in 1980 it was one in 16; and in 1990 it was one in 13.
• Overall, nearly one in three immigrants is an illegal alien. Half of Mexican and Central American immigrants and one-third of South American immigrants are illegal.
• Since 2000, 10.3 million immigrants have arrived — the highest seven-year period of immigration in U.S. history. More than half of post-2000 arrivals (5.6 million) are estimated to be illegal aliens.
• The largest increases in immigrants were in California, Florida, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, Arizona, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
• Of adult immigrants, 31 percent have not completed high school, compared to 8 percent of natives. Since 2000, immigration increased the number of workers without a high school diploma by 14 percent, and all other workers by 3 percent.
• The share of immigrants and natives who are college graduates is about the same. Immigrants were once much more likely than natives to be college graduates.
• The proportion of immigrant-headed households using at least one major welfare program is 33 percent, compared to 19 percent for native households.
• The poverty rate for immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18) is 17 percent, nearly 50 percent higher than the rate for natives and their children.
• 34 percent of immigrants lack health insurance, compared to 13 percent of natives. Immigrants and their U.S.-born children account for 71 percent of the increase in the uninsured since 1989.
• Immigrants make significant progress over time. But even those who have been here for 20 years are more likely to be in poverty, lack insurance, or use welfare than are natives.
• The primary reason for the high rates of immigrant poverty, lack of health insurance, and welfare use is their low education levels, not their legal status or an unwillingness to work.
• Of immigrant households, 82 percent have at least one worker compared to 73 percent of native households.
• There is a worker present in 78 percent of immigrant households using at least one welfare program.
• Immigration accounts for virtually all of the national increase in public school enrollment over the last two decades. In 2007, there were 10.8 million school-age children from immigrant families in the United States.
• Immigrants and natives have similar rates of entrepreneurship — 13 percent of natives and 11 percent of immigrants are self-employed.
• Recent immigration has had no significant impact on the nation’s age structure. Without the 10.3 million post-2000 immigrants, the average age in America would be virtually unchanged at 36.5 years.

Undocumented Immigrants as Taxpayers

Source: Immigration Policy Center

As the debate over illegal immigration continues to rage, some pundits and policymakers are claiming that unauthorized immigrants do not pay taxes and rely heavily on government benefits. Neither of these claims is borne out by the facts. Undocumented men have work force participation rates that are higher than other workers, and all undocumented immigrants are ineligible for most government services, but pay taxes as workers, consumers, and residents.

Full text (PDF; 62 KB)

Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants in the United States

Source: Aaron Terrazas, Jeanne Batalova, Velma Fan, Migration Policy Institute, October 2007

The US debate over immigration policy has raised many questions about immigrants — their origins, numbers and characteristics, as well as who has settled in which states.

This Spotlight provides answers to many of these frequently asked questions by bringing together resources from the Migration Policy Institute, the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and Decennial Census, US Departments of Homeland Security and State, and Mexico’s National Population Council.

World Publics Welcome Global Trade — But Not Immigration

Source: Pew Global Attitudes Project, October 4, 2007

From the summary:
The publics of the world broadly embrace key tenets of economic globalization but fear the disruptions and downsides of participating in the global economy. In rich countries as well as poor ones, most people endorse free trade, multinational corporations and free markets. However, the latest Pew Global Attitudes survey of more than 45,000 people finds they are concerned about inequality, threats to their culture, threats to the environment and threats posed by immigration. Together, these results reveal an evolving world view on globalization that is nuanced, ambivalent, and sometimes inherently contradictory.

See also:
Trend Topline: Includes current results as well as trends from previous surveys

Improving Quality of Health Care Relies on Effective Language Services

Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Issue Brief, October 2007

From the summary:
Speaking Together: National Language Services Network, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation national program, is helping 10 hospitals nationwide identify, test and assess strategies to effectively provide language services to patients with limited English proficiency (LEP). This issue brief highlights how data are helping hospitals improve the way they provide language services to America’s increasingly diverse patient populations

Foreign-Born Wage and Salary Workers in the US Labor Force and Unions

Source: Chuncui Velma Fan and Jeanne Batalova, Migration Policy Institute, August 2007

Labor unions have departed from their historical skepticism of immigrant workers as the overall number of wage and salary immigrant workers and their proportion in the labor unions have increased. Instead, labor unions have become an important force in support of proimmigrant policies.

This Spotlight looks at the available data on immigrant workers and unions, highlighting variations in union representation rates of immigrant workers across industrial sectors.

1995 – 2005: Foreign-Born Latinos Make Progress on Wages

Source: Rakesh Kochhar, Pew Hispanic Center, August 21, 2007

Foreign-born Latino workers made notable progress between 1995 and 2005 when ranked by hourly wage. The proportion of foreign-born Latino workers in the lowest quintile of the wage distribution decreased to 36% from 42% while many workers moved into the middle quintiles, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center.

Newly arrived Hispanic workers also were much less likely to be low-wage earners in 2005 than in 1995, in part because they were older, better educated and more likely to be employed in construction than in agriculture. Yet despite the clear movement into the middle range of the wage distribution, many foreign-born Latinos remain low-wage earners. Even though the share of Latino workers at the low end decreased, in absolute numbers this population grew by 1.2 million between 1995 and 2005.

Foreign-born workers in general did well during that time period, though there were significant differences among them. While Latino workers moved out of the low end of the wage distribution and into the middle, Asians significantly boosted their presence in the high-wage workforce.