A huge boom in both legal and illegal immigration in the United States over the past 16 years has the current immigrant population at a record high of 60 million, or 1 in 5 citizens, according to federal statistics reviewed by the Center for Immigration Studies.
Forty-three million adult immigrants have come to the United States in total, and when their US-born children are taken into account, the immigrant community stands at 60 million. Using immigration data from 1900 to 2016, the Center for Immigration Studies projects that the immigrant share of the population will reach a high of 14.8 percent in 2023. And by 2060, the group projects the immigrant share of the population will stand at 18.8 percent.
“The enormous number of immigrants already in the country coupled with the settlement of well over a million newcomers each year has a profound impact on American society, including on workers, schools, infrastructure, hospitals and the environment. The nation needs a serious debate about whether continuing this level of immigration makes sense,” said Steve Camarota, the Center’s director of research and co-author of the report.
The report doesn’t break down the share of legal and illegal immigrants in the country, though estimates for illegals stand at roughly 12 million. Unease over the staggering number of immigrants helped Donald Trump win the presidency on a platform of cracking down on illegal immigration and refugees.
Other key findings from the report include:
- The nation’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) hit a record 43.7 million in July 2016, an increase of half a million since 2015, 3.8 million since 2010, and 12.6 million since 2000.
- As a share of the U.S. population, immigrants (legal and illegal) comprised 13.5 percent, or one out of eight U.S. residents in 2016, the highest percentage in 106 years. As recently as 1980, just one out of 16 residents was foreign-born.
- Between 2010 and 2016, 8.1 million new immigrants settled in the United States. New arrivals are offset by the roughly 300,000 immigrants who return home each year and annual natural mortality of about 300,000 among the existing foreign-born population. As a result, growth in the immigrant population was 3.8 million 2010 to 2016.
- In addition to immigrants, there were slightly more than 16.6 million U.S.-born minor children with an immigrant parent in 2016, for a total of 60.4 million immigrants and their children in the country. Immigrants and their minor children now account for nearly one in five U.S. residents.
- Mexican immigrants (legal and illegal) were by far the largest foreign-born population in the country in 2016. Mexico is the top originating country, with 1.1 million new immigrants arriving from Mexico between 2010 and 2016, or one out of eight new arrivals. However, because of return migration and natural mortality among the existing population, the overall Mexican-born population has not grown in the last six years.
- The states with the largest numerical increases in the number of immigrants from 2010 to 2016 were Texas (up 587,889), Florida (up 578,468), California (up 527,234), New York (up 238,503), New Jersey (up 171,504), Massachusetts (up 140,318), Washington (up 134,132), Pennsylvania (up 131,845), Virginia (up 120,050), Maryland (up 118,175), Georgia (up 95,353), Nevada (up 78,341), Arizona (up 78,220), Michigan (up 74,532), Minnesota (up 73,953), and North Carolina (up 70,501).
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