Illegal Immigrant Population Surges To 10.3 Million

Genaro C. Armas, AP, Mar. 21

WASHINGTON—The nation’s undocumented immigrant population surged to 10.3 million last year, spurred largely since 2000 by the arrivals of unauthorized Mexicans in the United States, a report being released today says.

The population of undocumented residents in the United States increased by about 23 percent from 8.4 million in the four-year period ending last March, according to the analysis of government data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a private research group.

That equates to a net increase of roughly 485,000 per year between 2000 and 2004. The estimate was derived by subtracting the number of unauthorized immigrants who leave the United States, die or acquire legal status from the number of new undocumented immigrants that arrive each year.

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Assuming the flow of undocumented immigrants into the country hasn’t abated since March 2004, the population is likely near 11 million now.

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Mexicans by far remain the largest group of undocumented migrants at 5.9 million, or about 57 percent of the March 2004 estimate. Some 2.5 million others, or 24 percent, are from other Latin American countries.

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By 2004, those states accounted for 61 percent of the nation’s undocumented population. The top state is California, where nearly one-quarter of the undocumented reside, followed by Texas (14 percent) and Florida (9 percent).

Next on the list were New York (7 percent), Arizona (5 percent), Illinois (4 percent), New Jersey (4 percent), and North Carolina (3 percent).

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