The Facts on Immigration Today

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Everything you need to know about our foreign-born population, their impact on the economy, current immigration policy, and the voting power of new Americans.
  1 Center for American Progress |  The Facts on Immigration Today  The Facts on Immigration Today By Center for American Progress Immigration Team October 2014 Immigraion has been a consan source o economic vialiy and demographic dynamism hroughou our naion’s hisory. Immigrans are axpayers, enrepreneurs,  job creaors, and consumers. Bu he immigraion sysem is broken and in need o an overhaul. Alhough he U.S. border is now more secure han ever, decades o ever-increasing border and inerior enorcemen have exacerbaed he dysuncion caused  by rigid, ou-o-dae laws. Immigraion reorm ha comprehensively addresses hese sysemic problems󲀔including providing a pahway o ciizenship or undocumened immigrans living and working in he Unied Saes󲀔is suppored by large swahs o  Americans. Common-sense reorm would resore public aih in he sysem and level he playing field or all Americans, while supercharging he economic benefis rom our immigran populaion.Below are he laes and mos essenial acs abou immigrans and immigraion reorm in our naion oday. Te acs are broken down ino he ollowing secions:ã oday’s immigran populaionã Demographics and poliical power o new Americansã Immigrans and he economy ã Federal immigraion policy ã Public opinion polling on immigraionã In he news: Unaccompanied children a he U.S. souhern border  2 Center for American Progress |  The Facts on Immigration Today  Today’s immigrant population Foreign-born population ã The foreign-born population consisted of 40.7 million people in 2012.   Broken down  by immigraion saus, he oreign-born populaion was composed o 18.6 million nauralized U.S. ciizens and 22.1 million nonciizens in 2012. 1  O he nonciizens, 2  approximaely 13.3 million were legal permanen residens, 3  11.3 million were unau-horized migrans, 4  and 1.9 million were on emporary visas. 5 ã The past decade saw a significant increase in the foreign-born population.   Beween 2000 and 2012, here was a 31.2 percen increase in he oreign-born populaion. During his period, he immigran populaion grew rom 31.1 million o 40.8 million people. 6 ã The foreign-born share of the U.S. population has more than doubled since the 1960s, but it is still below its all-time high.   Te immigran populaion was 5.4 percen o he oal U.S. populaion in 1960. 7  By 2012, immigrans made up 13 percen o he oal U.S. populaion. 8  Sill, oday’s share o he immigran populaion as a percenage o he oal U.S. populaion remains below is peak in 1890, when 14.8 percen o he U.S. populaion had immigraed o he counry. 9 ã The countries of srcin of today’s immigrants are more diverse than they were 50 years ago.   In 1960, a ull 75 percen o he oreign-born populaion ha resided in he Unied Saes came rom Europe, 10  while in 2012, only 11.8 percen o he immigran populaion emigraed rom Europe. 11  In 2012, 11.6 million oreign-born residens󲀔28 percen o he oreign-born populaion󲀔came rom Mexico; 2.3 mil-lion immigrans came rom China; 2 million came rom India; 1.9 million came rom he Philippines; 1.3 million came rom boh Vienam and El Salvador; and 1.1 million came rom boh Cuba and Korea. 12  ã Immigrants today are putting down roots across the United States, in contrast to trends seen 50 years ago.   In he 1960s, wo-hirds o U.S. saes had populaions in  which less han 5 percen o individuals were oreign born. Te opposie is rue oday: In 2012, 61 percen o he oreign-born populaion lived in he Wes and he Souh󲀔a dramaic deparure rom rends 50 years ago, when 70 percen o he immigran popu-laion lived in he Norheas and Midwes. 13  ã Today, women outnumber men in the foreign-born population.   In 2012, 51.4 percen o he U.S. immigran populaion was emale. 14  Unil he 1960s, immigran men ou-numbered immigran women. However, by he 1970s, he number o emale immi-grans had surpassed he number o male immigrans. 15  3 Center for American Progress |  The Facts on Immigration Today ã The foreign-born population is, on average, slightly older than the native-born population.   In 2012, he median age or all oreign-born people was 42, while he median age or all naive-born people was 35. 16 ã There are almost 1 million lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, adult immigrants in the United States today.  Te esimaed 904,000 LGB adul immi-grans are more likely o be young and male compared wih he overall immigran populaion. 17 ã Immigrants have diverse educational backgrounds.   In 2012, 11.6 percen o immi-grans had a maser’s degree, proessional degree, or docorae degree, compared  wih 10.8 percen o he naive-born populaion. Ta same year, 69.4 percen o he oreign-born populaion had atained a high school diploma, GED, or higher, com-pared wih 89.9 percen o he naive-born populaion. 18 ã More than half of the foreign-born population are homeowners.   In 2012, 51 percen o immigran heads o household owned heir own homes, compared wih 66 percen o naive-born heads o household.    Among immigrans, 65 percen o nauralized ciizens owned heir own homes in 2012. 19  ã Less than one in five immigrants live in poverty, and they are no more likely to use social services than the native-born Americans.   In 2012, 19.1 percen o immigrans lived in povery, while 15.4 percen o he naive-born populaion lived in povery. O he oreign born, he wo larges groups living in povery were he 3.2 million people  who emigraed rom Mexico and he 1.4 million people who emigraed rom eiher Souh or Eas Asia. 20  Despie o his, sudies have consisenly shown ha immigrans use social programs such as Medicaid and Supplemenal Securiy Income a similar raes o naive households. 21 ã The 20 million U.S.-born children of immigrants are significantly better off financially than their immigrant parents.   Te median annual household income o second-generaion Americans in 2012 was $58,100, jus $100 below he naional average. Tis  was significanly higher han he median annual household income o heir parens a $45,800. 22  ã U.S.-born children of immigrants are more likely to go to college, less likely to live in poverty, and equally likely to be homeowners as the average American.    Abou   36 percen o U.S.-born children o immigrans are college graduaes󲀔5 percen above he naional average. Eleven percen o U.S.-born children o immigrans live in pov-ery󲀔well below he naional average o 13 percen. And around 64 percen o hem are homeowners, jus 1 percen below he naional average. 23  4 Center for American Progress |  The Facts on Immigration Today ã Immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or to be incarcerated than native-born Americans.    A 2007 sudy by he Immigraion Policy Cener ound ha he incarcera-ion rae or immigran men ages 18 o 39 in 2000 was 0.7 percen, while he incar-ceraion rae or naive-born men o he same age group was 3.5 percen. 24  While he oreign-born share o he U.S. populaion grew rom 8 percen o 13 percen beween 1990 and 2010, FBI daa indicae ha violen crime raes across he counry ell by abou 45 percen, while propery crime raes ell by 42 percen. 25   Undocumented immigrant population ã The undocumented population has stayed relatively stable, after declining slightly during the Great Recession.   In 2000, here were an esimaed 8.4 million undocu-mened people residing in he Unied Saes. Tis populaion peaked in 2007 a 12 million bu saw a gradual decline during he Grea ecession. In 2012, an esimaed 11.7 million undocumened immigrans resided in he Unied Saes. 26  Since hen, he numbers have sabilized. By he end o 2012, here were approximaely 11.2 million undocumened immigrans in he Unied Saes, and ha number remained consan ino 2013 wih 11.3 million undocumened immigrans. 27 ã People from Mexico account for a large part of the undocumented population living in the United States, but their share has diminished in recent years.   In 2012, 6 mil-lion people󲀔or 52 percen o he undocumened populaion󲀔were rom Mexico, down rom he peak o 6.9 million󲀔or 57 percen󲀔in 2007. 28 ã Six states are home to the majority of the undocumented population.    As o 2012,   22 percen o he naion’s undocumened populaion lives in Caliornia. Fifeen percen lives in exas, 8 percen lives in Florida, 7 percen lives in New York, 4 percen lives in Illinois, and 4 percen lives in New Jersey. 29  ã The majority of undocumented immigrants are long-term residents, committed to living in the United States. In 2013, he median lengh o residence or unauhor-ized immigrans in he Unied Saes was 13 years, a leas 5 years longer han i had  been in 2003. Currenly, 62 percen o undocumened immigrans have been living in he Unied Saes or 10 years or longer, and a ull 88 percen have been living in he Unied Saes or five years or longer. 30 ã Many undocumented immigrants could be sponsored for a green card but cannot adjust their status because they are presently undocumented.   Hundreds o hou-sands o undocumened immigrans could qualiy or a green card by virue o having a relaive who is a U.S. ciizen, bu󲀔because o bars o re-enering he Unied Saes ha were pu in place in 1996󲀔mos would have o leave he Unied Saes or a period o a leas 10 years beore becoming eligible o reunie wih heir amilies. 31  
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