Immigration Surging; 1.5 Million Arriving Each Year

Karen Zeigler and Steven A. CamarotaCenter for Immigration Studies, November 1, 2016

A Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) analysis of newly released data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) shows that 1.5 million new immigrants (legal and illegal) settled in the country in 2014. The number who entered in 2014 represent an increase of 38 percent over the number who were arriving as recently as 2011. The findings confirm a CIS study published in June of this year based on other data showing a surge in legal and illegal immigration in 2014 and 2015. Newly arrived immigrants include new green card holders (permanent residents); long-term “temporary” visitors who often stay permanently, such as guest workers and foreign students; and new illegal immigrants.

View the entire report here.

“The data makes clear that the slowdown in immigration that occurred after the Great Recession is over,” said the Center’s Director of Research Steven Camarota. He added, “many of these new arrivals are guest workers brought in at the behest of the business community. Whether this is in the best interest of American workers or the country as a whole is a question seldom asked in Washington.”

• Newly released data show 1.5 million new immigrants (legal and illegal) arrived in 2014. Data released for the first six months of 2015 indicates that 1.6 million new immigrants likely arrived in 2015.

• The number who arrived in 2014 represents a 17% increase over the number who came in 2013 and a 38 percent increase over the low point in 2011.

• Between two-third and three-fourths of the 1.5 million new immigrants settling in the country are legal immigrants, including permanent residents as well as long-term visitors (e.g. guest workers and foreign students). The remainder are new illegal immigrants.

• The overall immigrant population grew about twice as fast from 2013 to 2015 as it did in the prior four years, hitting a new record high of 43.3 million.

• It is important to note that arrivals are offset by those immigrants who leave the country each year and by normal mortality of about 300,000 annually among the existing immigrant population. Therefore, growth in the overall immigrant population is less than new arrivals.

• As a share of the U.S. population, 13.5 percent are now immigrants–the highest percentage in 105 years. As recently as 1970, less than 5 percent of the population were immigrants.

• Based on current trends and Census Bureau projections, the immigrant share of the population is on track to surpass the highest level in American history seven years from now.

• Sending regions with the largest numerical increases in immigrants living in the United States since 2010 were East Asia (up 847,000), South Asia (up 825,000), the Caribbean (up 434,000), Sub-Saharan Africa (up 390,000), the Middle East (up 362,000), and Central America (up 332,000). The number of European immigrants declined by 31,000.

• Major sending countries with the largest numerical increases in immigrants living in the United States since 2010 were India (up 609,000), China (up 510,000), the Philippines (up 205,000), the Dominican Republic (up 184,000), El Salvador (up 138,000), Cuba (up 106,000), Nigeria (up 104,000), Guatemala (up 97,000), Haiti (up 88,000), Pakistan (up 80,000), Honduras (up 76,000), Bangladesh (up 75,000), Venezuela (up 71,000), Colombia (up 63,000), Vietnam (up 60,000), and Iraq (up 55,000).

• Major sending-countries with the largest percentage increases in immigrants living in the United States since 2010 were Saudi Arabia (up 115 percent), Bangladesh (up 49 percent), Nigeria (up 48 percent), Egypt and Iraq (each up 35 percent), India (up 34 percent), Ethiopia (up 32 percent), Pakistan (up 27 percent), Ghana (up 25 percent), the Dominican Republic (up 21 percent), Honduras (up 15 percent), Guatemala and the Philippines (each up 12 percent), and Iran (up 11 percent).

• States with the largest numerical increases in the number of immigrants from 2010 to 2015 were California (up 538,000), Texas (up 529,000), Florida (up 428,000), New York (up 232,000), New Jersey (up 133,000), Massachusetts (up 112,000), Maryland (up 108,000), Virginia (up 108,000), Pennsylvania (up 98,000), Washington (up 94,000), Georgia (up 81,000), Minnesota (up 79,000), and North Carolina (up 76,000).

• States with the largest percentage increases in the number of immigrants from 2010 to 2015 were North Dakota (up 72 percent), Wyoming (up 39 percent), West Virginia (up 31 percent), South Dakota (up 25 percent), Delaware (up 22 percent), Minnesota (up 21 percent), Alaska (up 19 percent), Mississippi (up 18 percent), Tennessee and New Hampshire (each up 15 percent), Nebraska and Oklahoma (each up 14 percent), and Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Texas (each up 13 percent).

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