Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States
Originally published on the Migration Information Source www.migrationinformation.org, a project of the Migration Policy Institute.
Where they are from? How many come annually and are already here? What are the characteristics of immigrants and their children? Do they have health insurance? Where do they live? How large are illegal immigration flows, and how has the government responded?
This Spotlight provides answers to these and other frequently asked questions by bringing together resources from the Migration Policy Institute; the US Census Bureau's 2008 American Community Survey (ACS), 2000 decennial census, and 2008 Current Population Survey; the US departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and State (DOS); and Mexico's National Population Council (CONAPO) and National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI).
According to the US Census Bureau's 2008 American Community Survey, there were 37,960,935 foreign born in the United States, 12.5 percent of the total US population.
Data on the nativity of the US population was first collected in the 1850 decennial census. That year, there were 2.2 million foreign born in the United States, 9.7 percent of the total population.
Between 1860 and 1920, immigrants as a percentage of the total population fluctuated between about 13 and 15 percent, peaking at 14.8 percent in 1890 mainly due to European immigration. By 1930, immigrants' share of the US population had dropped to 11.6 percent (14.2 million individuals).
The share of foreign born in the US population continued to decline between the 1930s and 1970s, reaching a record low of 4.7 percent in 1970 (9.6 million individuals). However, since 1970, the percentage has risen rapidly, mainly due to large-scale immigration from Latin America and Asia.
In 1980, according to the US Census Bureau, the foreign born represented 6.2 percent (14.1 million individuals) of the total US population. By 1990, their share had risen to 7.9 percent (19.8 million individuals) and, by the 2000 census, they made up 11.1 percent (31.1 million individuals) of the total US population.
As of 2008, immigrants comprised 12.5 percent (38.0 million) of the total US population.
Mexican-born immigrants accounted for 30.1 percent of all foreign born residing in the United States in 2008, by far the largest immigrant group in the United States.
The Philippines accounted for 4.4 percent of all foreign born, followed by India and China (excluding Hong Kong and Taiwan) with 4.3 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively.
These four countries — together with Vietnam (3.0 percent), El Salvador (2.9 percent), Korea (2.7 percent), Cuba (2.6 percent), Canada (2.2 percent), and the Dominican Republic (2.0 percent) — made up 57.7 percent of all foreign born residing in the United States in 2008.
The predominance of immigrants from Mexico and Asian countries in the early 21st century starkly contrasts with the foreign born from mostly European countries in 1960. Italian-born immigrants made up 13.0 percent of all foreign born in 1960, followed by those born in Germany and Canada (accounting for 10.2 and 9.8 percent, respectively). Unlike in 2008, no single country accounted for more than 15 percent of the total immigrant population in 1960.
Demographic, Educational, and Linguistic Characteristics
Of the 38.0 million foreign-born population in the United States in 2008, 49.9 percent were female. The share of women declined slightly in the last three decades. Women accounted for 53.4 percent of the 14.1 million immigrants in 1980, 51.1 percent of the 19.7 million immigrants in 1990, and 50.2 percent of the 31.1 million immigrants in 2000.
How many immigrants have come to the United States since 2000?
How many immigrants are naturalized US citizens?
Of the 16.3 million naturalized citizens in 2008, 32.9 percent naturalized between 2001 and 2008, 32.2 percent between 1991 and 2000, 15.9 percent between 1981 and 1990, and 18.9 percent naturalized prior to 1981.
What is the racial composition of immigrants?
How many Hispanics are immigrants?
What percentage of the foreign born are limited English proficient (LEP)?
Note: The term limited English proficient refers to any person age 5 and older who reported speaking English "not at all," "not well," or "well" on their survey questionnaire. Individuals who reported speaking only English or speaking English "very well" are considered proficient in English.
Which languages does the US population* speak?
Notes: * Refers to the 283.1 million people age 5 and older who resided in the United States at the time of the survey. ** These respondents might or might not speak English at home in addition to a foreign language.
What percentage of the adult foreign-born population is college educated?
In 2008, there were 11.4 million foreign born from Mexico residing in the United States according to the 2008 American Community Survey. Mexican immigrants accounted for 30.1 percent of all immigrants in the United States in 2008.
In which US states do the Mexican born live?
The foreign born from Mexico accounted for over half of the immigrant population in New Mexico (71.8 percent), Arizona (65.6 percent), Texas (61.6 percent), Arkansas (54.2 percent), Idaho (51.7 percent), and Colorado (50.1 percent). By contrast, Mexican-born individuals accounted for only 2.6 percent of the foreign-born population in Vermont and New Hampshire, 1.4 percent in Massachusetts, and 0.5 percent in Maine.
About 71.5 percent of the 10.6 million immigrants from Mexico age 16 and older were in the civilian labor force in 2008 compared to 68.7 percent of the 35.7 million immigrants age 16 and older from all countries and 64.9 percent of the 203.0 million native born age 16 and older.
How has the emigration rate from Mexico changed over time?
The immigration rate to Mexico (i.e., the number of people who move to Mexico from abroad, who are overwhelmingly return migrants) remained relatively stable over the same period, fluctuating between 3.2 and 5.9 migrants per 1,000 Mexican residents.
Note: ENOE asks Mexican households to enumerate any members of the household are who living abroad at the time of the interview. Accordingly, it does not capture the emigration of entire families where no member of the household remains in Mexico.
From which areas/regions do Mexican migrants residing in the United States originate?
The Mexican National Population Council (Consejo Nacional de Población, or CONAPO), tracks the number of Mexican-born US residents according to their state of birth in Mexico.
According to the only currently available estimate, in 2003, one-third of Mexican-born migrants residing in the United States originated from just three states: Jalisco (13.7 percent), Michoacán (10.7 percent), and Guanajuato (9.3 percent) (see Map 1). In 1990, these three states accounted for 34.7 percent of Mexican migrants to the United States (16.8 percent from Jalisco, 10.5 percent from Michoacán, and 7.4 percent from Guanajuato).
Which areas/regions of Mexico sent the most migrants to the United States in 2008?
While the share of Mexicans migrating to the United States from Sonora has declined from 12.5 percent in 2000, the shares from Michoacán (13.9 percent in 2000) and Guanajuato (9.2 percent in 2000) have remained relatively stable, and the share of Mexicans migrating from Oaxaca has increased (2.7 percent in 2000).
Note: EMIF is an annual sample survey of migration flows along Mexico's northern border region conducted by the ministries of Foreign Affairs (SRE) and Labor and Social Affairs (STPS), the National Migration Institute (INM), the National Population Council (CONAPO), and the University of the Northern Border (COLEF) in Tijuana. It excludes Mexicans entering the United States via air, migrants under the age of 15, and non-Mexican nationals crossing the Southwest border.
Health Insurance Coverage
According to recent MPI estimates, immigrants accounted for 29 percent of the 46.6 million working-age adults and children under 18 with no health insurance in 2008. Of these 13.4 million uninsured immigrants, about half (6.8 million) were unauthorized immigrants, almost a third (4.2 million) were lawful permanent residents (LPRs), and another 17 percent (2.3 million) were naturalized citizens.
Unauthorized working-age adults (ages 18 to 64) were about three times more likely to be uninsured (59 percent) than either naturalized citizens (20 percent) or native-born US citizens (16 percent).
Of the 23.1 million civilian employed foreign born age 16 and older in 2008, 28.1 percent worked in management, professional, and related occupations; 23.4 percent worked in service occupations; 18.0 percent worked in sales and office occupations; 1.9 percent worked in farming, fishing, and forestry occupations; 16.1 percent worked in production, transportation, and material moving occupations; and 12.5 percent worked in construction, extraction, and maintenance occupations.
Among the 123.2 million civilian employed native born age 16 and older, 36.2 percent worked in management, professional, and related occupations; 16.0 percent worked in service occupations; 26.9 percent worked in sales and office occupations; 0.5 percent worked in farming, fishing, and forestry occupations; 11.8 percent worked in production, transportation, and material moving occupations; and 8.7 percent worked in construction, extraction, and maintenance occupations.
In 2008, the top five US states by the number of immigrants were California (9,859,027), New York (4,236,768), Texas (3,887,224), Florida (3,391,511), and Illinois (1,782,423).
When classified by the share of immigrants in the total state population, the top five states in 2008 were California (26.8 percent), New York (21.7 percent), New Jersey (19.8 percent), Nevada (18.9 percent), and Florida (18.5 percent).
Between 1990 and 2000, the five states with the largest absolute growth of the immigrant population were California (2,405,430), Texas (1,375,206), New York (1,016,272), Florida (1,008,227), and Illinois (576,786).
Between 2000 and 2008, the five states with the largest absolute growth of the immigrant population were California (994,772), Texas (987,582), Florida (720,683), New York (368,635), and Georgia (333,200).
Between 1990 and 2000, the five states with the largest percent growth of the immigrant population were North Carolina (273.7 percent), Georgia (233.4 percent), Nevada (202.0 percent), Arkansas (196.3 percent), and Utah (170.8 percent).
However, between 2000 and 2008, the five states with the largest percent growth of the immigrant population were South Carolina (68.2 percent), Georgia (57.7 percent), Tennessee (56.3 percent), Nevada (55.0 percent), and Mississippi (51.7 percent).
In 2008, the top 10 counties by the number of immigrants were Los Angeles County, California (3,470,000); Miami-Dade County, Florida (1,196,000); Cook County, Illinois (1,117,000); Queens County, New York (1,087,000); Harris County, Texas (988,000); Kings County, New York (938,000); Orange County, California (904,000); San Diego County, California (663,000); Maricopa County, Arizona (651,000); and Santa Clara County, California (650,000).
When classified by the share of immigrants in the total county population, the top 10 counties in 2008 were Miami-Dade County, Florida (49.9 percent); Queens County, New York (47.4 percent); Hudson County, New Jersey (40.2 percent); Santa Clara County, California (36.8 percent); Kings County, New York (36.7 percent); Los Angeles County, California (35.2 percent); San Francisco County, California (35.0 percent); San Mateo County, California (34.2 percent); Bronx County, New York (32.7 percent); and Imperial County, California (32.0 percent).
Between 2000 and 2008, the 10 counties with the largest absolute growth of immigrants were Harris County, Texas (232,000); Maricopa County, Arizona (210,000); Riverside County, California (176,000); Clark County, Nevada (156,000); Dallas County, Texas (110,000); Broward County, Florida (109,000); San Bernardino County, California (107,000); Gwinnett County, Georgia (101,000); King County, Washington (99,000); and Tarrant County, Texas (88,000).
Between 2000 and 2008, the 10 counties with the largest absolute decline of immigrants were Passaic County, New Jersey (-15,000); Orleans Parish, Louisiana (-4,000); Arlington County, Virginia (-3,000); San Francisco County, California (-2,000); Cape May County, New Jersey (-2,000); Muscogee County, Georgia (-2,000); Chelan County, Washington (-1,000); Craighead County, Arkansas (-1,000); Trumbull County, Ohio (-1,000); and Klamath County, Oregon (-1,000).
Between 2000 and 2008, the 10 counties with the largest percent growth of the immigrant population were Newton County, Georgia (335 percent); Lauderdale County, Alabama (280 percent); Forsyth County, Georgia (280 percent); Walton County, Georgia (235 percent); Stafford County, Virginia (230 percent); Limestone County, Alabama (223 percent); Kendall County, Illinois (217 percent); Douglas County, Georgia (210 percent); Delaware County, Ohio (209 percent); and Faulkner County, Arkansas (201 percent).
Note: County-level data are from the 2008 one-year estimates of the American Community Survey, which, for confidentiality and sampling reasons, reports information only for 788 out of 3,141 US counties. It is likely that the county rankings would be different if information on all counties were available.
In 2008, there were about 16.3 million children age 17 and under with at least one immigrant parent. They accounted for 23.2 percent of the 70 million children age 17 and under in the United States.
The 13.9 million second-generation children — those who were born in the United States to at least one foreign-born parent — accounted for 85.6 percent of all children with immigrant parents. The remaining 14.4 percent (2.3 million) are children born outside the United States to foreign-born parents.
Between 1990 and 2000, the number of children with immigrant parents grew 59.7 percent from 8.2 million to 13.1 million. Between 2000 and 2008, the number grew 24.2 percent from 13.1 million to 16.3 million.
Between 1990 and 2000, the number of first-generation immigrant children grew 42.8 percent (from 1.9 million to 2.7 million). By contrast, the number of first-generation immigrant children declined 13.2 percent between 2000 and 2008 from 2.7 million to 2.3 million.
The number of second-generation immigrant children has grown steadily since 1990. Between 1990 and 2000, the number of second-generation immigrant children grew 64.8 percent from 6.3 million to 10.4 million, and between 2000 and 2008, the number of second-generation immigrant children grew another 33.9 percent from 10.4 million to 13.9 million.
In 1990, children with immigrant parents were 13.4 percent of all children, compared to 19.1 percent in 2000 and 23.2 percent in 2008. The share of second-generation children among all children with immigrant parents has grown steadily from 77.0 percent in 1990 to 79.5 percent in 2000 to 85.6 percent in 2008.
What are the top five states in terms of the number of children with immigrant parents?
What are the top five states when looking at the share of children with immigrant parents in the state's total child population?
What are the top five states in terms of the absolute growth of the number of children with immigrant parents?
Between 2000 and 2008, the five states with the largest absolute growth of the total number of children with immigrant parents were Texas (544,300), California (290,200), Florida (217,300), Georgia (196,400), and Arizona (162,200).
What are the top five states in terms of the percent growth of the number of children with immigrant parents between 1990 and 2000 and between 2000 and 2008?
Between 2000 and 2008, the five states with the largest percent growth of the total population of children with immigrant parents were Tennessee (106.5 percent), Delaware (104.6 percent), North Carolina (95.7 percent), Arkansas (89.1 percent), and Georgia (88.5 percent).
In 2008, 1,107,126 foreign nationals became lawful permanent residents (LPRs) (also known as green-card holders) according to the Department of Homeland Security's Yearbook of Immigration Statistics 2008. The total number represents a 5.2 percent increase from 2007 (1,052,415) and a 31.6 percent increase from 2000 (841,002).
Of the 1.1 million new green-card holders, 466,558 (42.1 percent) were new arrivals who entered the country in 2008, and 640,568 (57.9 percent) were status adjusters. The status adjusters arrived in the United States in any year before 2008, but their green card applications were approved during 2008.In which categories did permanent immigrants enter in 2008?
Of the 1.1 million new LPRs in 2008, 44.1 percent were immediate relatives of a US citizen, 20.5 percent came through a family-sponsored preference, and 15.0 percent entered through an employment-based preference. Another 15.0 percent adjusted from a refugee or asylee status, and 5.2 percent were diversity-lottery winners.
How many people applied for permanent immigration to the United States through the green card lottery?
Applicants registered for the 2010 lottery (run between October 2 and December 1, 2008) were selected at random from over 13.6 million qualified entries. The number of qualified entries totaled 5.5 million in the 2007 lottery, 6.4 million in the 2008 lottery, and 9.1 million in the 2009 lottery. (The Department of State does not release the total number of applications received, only the number of qualified entries.)
From which countries did permanent immigrants originate?
Persons born in the next five countries — the Dominican Republic (2.9 percent), Vietnam (2.8 percent), Colombia (2.7 percent), Korea (South and North) (2.4 percent), and Haiti (2.3 percent) — made up another 13.2 percent of all LPRs, so that the top 10 countries of birth made up more than half of the total (52.7 percent).
What was the total number of nonimmigrant admissions to the United States in 2008?
An additional 135.6 million admissions were exempt from completing the I-94 arrival/departure form at the port of entry. These nonimmigrant admissions are from two groups: Canadians who travel to the United States for business or pleasure, and Mexicans who possess a nonresident alien Border Crossing Card (i.e., laser visa).
Note: Nonimmigrant admissions represent the number of arrivals, not the number of individuals, admitted to the United States. DHS only reports characteristics of nonimmigrants who have to complete an I-94 arrival/departure form.
How did nonimmigrant admissions break down by visa category?
Temporary workers and trainees, including H-1B "specialty occupation" workers, registered nurses, temporary agricultural workers, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) professional workers, treaty traders, and intracompany transferees, among others, accounted for 1,949,695 arrivals (5.0 percent of total admissions); this figure includes spouses and children of all temporary workers and trainees.
Students who came to the United States to study at academic or vocational institutes together with their family members made up 3.6 percent (1,424,613) of total arrivals.
The US Department of State (DOS) reports the number of visas issued to foreign nationals who wish to come to the United States for the purpose of traveling, conducting business, working, studying, and other reasons.
In 2008, DOS issued 6,603,073 nonimmigrant visas, which is lower than the decade's peak of 7,588,778 visas in 2001 but higher than the decade's bottom of 4,881,632 visas issued in 2003 (see Figure 2).
The vast majority (71.1 percent) of nonimmigrant visas issued in 2008 were temporary business and tourist visas (B-1, B-2, BCC, and BCV visas). The next largest groups were J-1 and J-2 exchange visitors and their spouses and children (5.9 percent), and F-1, F-2, and F-3 academic student and family of academic student visas (5.5 percent).
Disaggregated by region of origin, the majority of temporary visas were issued in 2008 to foreign nationals from Asia (39.8 percent) and North America (21.3 percent, including Central America and the Caribbean), followed by South America (16.7 percent), Europe (16.6 percent), Africa (4.7 percent), and Oceania (0.8 percent).
Note: The number of visas issued does not necessarily match the number of foreign nationals who came to the United States in the same year because some nonimmigrant visas may not be used.
In 2008, 60,108 individuals were admitted to the United States as refugees. This figure represented a 24.7 percent increase compared to the number in 2007 (48,218) and a 16.7 percent decline compared to the 72,143 refugees admitted in 2000.
Nationals of Burma, Iraq, and Bhutan represented 62.0 percent (37,282) of all refugees admitted in 2008. Altogether, nationals of the top 10 countries made up 91.9 percent of the 60,108 refugee arrivals in 2008. In addition to the top three, these countries include Iran, Cuba, Burundi, Somalia, Vietnam, Ukraine, and Liberia.
According to the Department of State, the United States expects to accept at least 17,000 Iraqis, 12,000 Bhutanese, and 5,500 Iranians in 2009.
How many foreign born came as asylees and where were they from?
Nearly 5,500 persons from the People's Republic of China, 1,646 from Colombia, and 1,237 from Haiti were granted asylum, accounting for 36.6 percent of all individuals who received asylum status in 2008. Those granted asylum from Venezuela (1,057), Iraq (1,022), Ethiopia (899), and Russia (574) accounted for another 15.4 percent. Together, nationals of these seven countries made up over half of all individuals who received asylum status in 2008.
According to Pew Hispanic Center estimates, there were 11.9 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States in March 2008. The size of the unauthorized population appears to have declined since 2007. However, this finding is inconclusive because of the margin of error in the estimates, which are based on data from the US Census Bureau's Current Population Survey of 50,000 households each month.
The flow of unauthorized immigrants grew more slowly (by about 500,000 per year) between 2005 and 2008 than it did between 2000 and 2004, when the flow grew by about 800,000 per year. Reversing a long-term trend, the flow of unauthorized immigrants fell below the flow of lawful permanent residents between 2005 and 2008.
Unauthorized immigrants made up 30 percent of the nation's foreign-born population, about 4 percent of the entire US population, and 5.4 percent of US workers. Approximately 44 percent of the nation's unauthorized immigrants have arrived since 2000. About three-quarters (76 percent) of the 11.9 million unauthorized immigrant population were of Hispanic origin.
The vast majority of unauthorized immigrants are from Mexico and Latin America: 59 percent from Mexico, 11 percent from Central America, 7 percent from South America, and 4 percent from the Caribbean. An additional 12 percent are from South and East Asia, while the rest come from other areas of the world.
How many children have unauthorized immigrant parents?
In 2008, children of unauthorized immigrants, both those who are unauthorized immigrants themselves and US citizens, made up 6.8 percent of the students enrolled in US elementary and secondary schools according to the Pew Hispanic Center.
Research in the United States and other countries indicates that along with temporary migrant workers, flows of unauthorized immigrants are most closely linked to the economy, and thus the ones most likely to fall in poor economic times.
US population survey data show that while the annual number of new arrivals from Mexico — the largest source of illegal immigration to the United States — was about 650,000 between March 2004 and March 2005, and 420,000 between March 2007 and March 2008, the estimated annual inflow dropped to just 175,000 between March 2008 and March 2009, which is the lowest total this decade. This finding is reinforced by US Border Patrol apprehensions data and Mexican government surveys.
A second central story is that even now — nearly two years into the recession — return migration remains the exception and not the rule. There has been virtually no change in return flows to Mexico despite the fact that unemployment rates for Mexican and Central American immigrants in the United States have nearly doubled from 6.4 percent in December 2007 to 11.5 percent in August 2009 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There were nearly 800,000 apprehensions in 2008. The overwhelming majority, 97 percent, were along the Southwest border. The total number of alien apprehensions reported by the Department of Homeland Security steadily increased during the 1990s, from 1,169,939 apprehensions in 1990 to 1,814,729 apprehensions in 2000. Since 2000, the number of apprehensions has declined steadily, numbering 960,756 in 2007 and 791,568 in 2008. The 2008 figure is the lowest since 1989 and the second lowest since 1982.
Note: Apprehensions are events, not individuals. In other words, the same individual can be apprehended more than once.
How many people were deported in 2008?
However, the number of removals (forced deportations) rose throughout the period from 30,039 in 1990 to 188,467 in 2000 and 358,886 in 2008. By contrast, voluntary returns first increased over the period, from 1,022,522 in 1990 to 1,675,876 in 2000, but they declined to 811,263 in 2008 (see Figure 3).
Note: Removals are the compulsory and confirmed movement of an inadmissible or deportable alien out of the United States based on an order of removal. An alien who is removed has administrative or criminal consequences placed on subsequent reentry owing to the fact of the removal. Returns are the confirmed movement of an inadmissible or deportable alien out of the United States not based on an order of removal. Most of the voluntary departures are of Mexican nationals who have been apprehended by the US Border Patrol and are returned to Mexico.
Funding for the US Border Patrol, then part of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in the Department of Justice, increased 519 percent between 1986 and 2002, from $268 million to $1.6 billion. The Border Patrol budget was more than $3.5 billion in 2008 according to the Office of Management and Budget. The Border Patrol is responsible for enforcing 8,000 miles of US land and water boundaries between legal points of entry (designated points where immigration officials can regulate entry).
Following the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, the Border Patrol became part of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an agency within DHS.
CBP's responsibilities also include regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, enforcing US trade laws, and protecting US agricultural and economic interests from pests and diseases.
According to DHS annual budgets from various years, the total CBP budget (gross discretionary and mandatory, fees, and trust funds) was $5.9 billion in 2003. The agency's budget increased 32 percent to $7.7 billion in 2007 and another 20 percent to $9.3 billion in 2008. In 2009, it rose to $11.3 billion, and President Barack Obama has requested $11.4 billion for 2010.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the investigative branch of DHS and is responsible for enforcing immigration laws. In 2003, the total budget for ICE was $3.3 billion, which rose 44 percent to $4.7 billion in 2007 and another 8 percent to $5.1 billion in 2008 (gross discretionary and mandatory, fees, and trust funds). In 2009, it increased to $5.9 billion, and the president has requested $5.8 billion for 2010.
Two of ICE's four main offices have immigration responsibilities: the Office of Detentions and Removal Operations (DRO) and the Office of Investigations (OI).
DRO processes, detains, and removes criminal aliens, unauthorized immigrants, and nonimmigrants who have violated immigration laws (such as being legally resident but working without authorization). In 2008, DRO's budget was $2.2 billion (including discretionary and mandatory spending), about 56 percent of ICE's total budget. In 2009, it is expected to rise to $3.1 billion, or about 59 percent of ICE's total budget.
OI enforces trade, immigration, and customs laws. In 2008, OI's total budget was $2.1 billion, or about 42 percent of ICE's total budget; in 2009, its budget is expected to decline to $2.0 billion, or about 37 percent of ICE's total budget.
The number of Border Patrol agents has nearly doubled from approximately 9,000 in 2001 to 17,499 in 2008.
Of the 38 million foreign born in the United States in 2008, 16.3 million (43.0 percent) were naturalized citizens according to 2008 American Community Survey (ACS) estimates.
How many immigrants naturalized in 2008?
From a historical perspective, the number of naturalizations increased dramatically in recent decades. On average, between 1970 and 1979, 141,000 LPRs naturalized each year. The average annual number of naturalizations rose to about 205,000 in the 1980s, 498,000 in the 1990s, and 629,000 on average each year for the 2000-2008 period.
There was a 58 percent increase in the number of naturalizations between 2007 and 2008 from 660,477 to 1,046,539. A few factors explain the increase.
One was the 2008 presidential elections, which immigrant advocacy groups used in their ongoing campaigns to promote naturalization. Another was the 80 percent increase in naturalization fees (from $330 to $595) scheduled for the end of July 2007 and announced in January 2007.
Between September 2001 and March 2009, 47,481 foreign-born military personnel have naturalized on US soil, overseas, or on board Navy ships. Of those, 2,655 were naturalized in ceremonies in Iraq.
What are the countries of origin of newly naturalized citizens?
Where do newly naturalized citizens live in the United States?
More than 13 percent of all those who naturalized in 2008 lived in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area (138,618), 12.9 percent in the greater New York metropolitan area (134,572), and 8.5 percent in the greater Miami metropolitan area (89,440). These metropolitan areas, together with the Chicago (4.2 percent), Washington (3.9 percent), San Francisco (3.6 percent), and Houston (2.7 percent) metropolitan areas, were home to 49 percent of new US citizens in 2008.
How many visa applications for permanent immigration (green cards) are backlogged?
The second type of backlog is due to processing delays of applicants' documents. This is related to the government's lack of financial and human resources as well as increased scrutiny.
Once the State Department grants a visa to an immigrant, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conduct background checks.
As of October 9, 2009, USCIS was processing some family-related visas applications filed as far back as January 1987, and it was still processing some employment-related visa applications from June 2001.
A US citizen wishing to sponsor an unmarried adult child from Mexico has to wait more than 18 years before the application will be processed (see Table 1). LPRs applying to bring their immediate family members (spouses and children) can expect to wait between four and 18 years depending on their country of origin.
Originally published on the Migration Information Source www.migrationinformation.org, a project of the Migration Policy Institute.
Copyright @ 2010 Migration Policy Institute. All rights reserved.
Aaron Matteo Terrazas is a Research Assistant at the Migration Policy Institute, where he focuses on the migration-development nexus and on US immigrant integration policy. Mr. Terrazas holds a BS with honors from the Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where he majored in International Affairs and earned a certificate in Latin American Studies. He was awarded the William Manger Latin American Studies Award for his senior thesis, “The Mexican Connection: Remittances, Diaspora Engagement, Economic Development, and the Role of the State.” He also studied at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris.
Jeanne Batalova is a Political Analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, where she focuses on the impacts of immigrants on social structure and labor markets; integration of immigrant children and elderly immigrants; and the policies and practices regulating immigration of highly skilled workers and foreign students. She is also Manager of the MPI Data Hub, a one-stop, web-based resource that provides instant access to the latest facts, stats, and maps covering US and global data on immigration and immigrant integration.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.