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The Unauthorized Population Today

Number Holds Steady at 11 million, Three-Fifths Have Been Here More Than a Decade

Recent estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) indicate that the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States has remained unchanged at roughly 11 million since 2009.  This comes after a two-year decline of approximately one million that corresponded closely to the most recent recession, which ran from December 2007 to June 2009.  Despite that decline, the new data make clear that the current population of unauthorized immigrants is very much part of the social and economic fabric of the country.  Three-fifths of unauthorized immigrants have been in the United States for more than a decade.  Unauthorized immigrants comprise more than one-quarter of the foreign-born population and roughly 1-in-20 workers.  Approximately 4.5 million native-born U.S.-citizen children have at least one unauthorized parent.  While the largest numbers of unauthorized immigrants are concentrated in California and Texas, there also are sizable unauthorized populations in Florida, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Georgia, North Carolina, and Maryland.  In short, unauthorized immigrants who are already in the country have become integral to U.S. businesses, communities, and families.

The size of the unauthorized population has remained unchanged at roughly 11 million since 2009.

  • The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that there were 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants in the country as of 2010, nearly the same as the previous year’s estimate of 11.1 million.  This was down from a high of 12 million in 2007, but up from 8.4 million in 2000.
  • The DHS Office of Immigration Statistics estimates 10.8 million unauthorized immigrants as of 2010, virtually unchanged from the previous year.  This was down from a high of 11.8 million in 2007, but up from 8.5 million in 2000 {Figure 1}.

 

Three-fifths of unauthorized immigrants have been in the United States for more than a decade.

  • According to DHS estimates, 42 percent of unauthorized immigrants in the United States as of 2010 had arrived in the United States during the 1990s, and another 19 percent during the 1980s.
  • 39 percent of unauthorized immigrants had arrived in the United States between 2000 and 2009 {Figure 2}.

 

The current unauthorized population accounts for over one-quarter of all immigrants in the United States.

  • According to Pew estimates, unauthorized immigrants comprised 28 percent of the foreign-born population in 2010.
  • Naturalized U.S. citizens accounted for 37 percent of the foreign-born population, and Legal Permanent Residents were 31 percent {Figure 3}.

 

The current unauthorized population accounts for roughly 1-in-20 workers.

  • According to Pew estimates, unauthorized immigrants comprised 5.2 percent of the U.S. labor force in 2010, nearly unchanged from the 2009 estimate of 5.1 percent.
  • This is down from a high of 5.5 percent in 2007 and up from 3.8 percent in 2000 {Figure 4}.

 

Roughly 4.5 million native-born U.S.-citizen children have at least one unauthorized parent.

  • According to Pew estimates, unauthorized immigrants already in the United States have approximately 5.5 million children.
  • Roughly 1 million of those children are themselves unauthorized immigrants, while the remaining 4.5 million are native-born U.S. citizens {Figure 5}.

 

Half of the current unauthorized population lives in four states: California, Texas, Florida, and New York.

  • According to Pew estimates, California was home to 2.6 million unauthorized immigrants in 2010, followed by Texas (1.7 million), Florida (825,000), and New York (625,000).
  • Other states with large unauthorized populations included Illinois, Georgia, Arizona, North Carolina, and Maryland {Figure 6}.

 

Three-fifths of unauthorized immigrants are from Mexico.

  • According to DHS estimates, 60 percent of the unauthorized population was from Mexico as of 2010.
  • The other top countries of origin were El Salvador (6 percent), Guatemala (5 percent), Honduras (3 percent), and the Philippines (3 percent) {Figure 7}.

Published On: Tue, Mar 22, 2011 | Download File