Immigration to America began around 1492, and hasn’t let up much since then. Almost everyone in the U.S. is from somewhere else if you look far enough back, but most recent immigrants reside in California, New York, Texas, Illinois or Florida.
Here are the top five states, with the total number of foreign-born residents that each had in 2008, according to American Community Survey:
New York (4,236,768)
Arizona, which sparked controversy when lawmakers passed new legislation aimed at identifying and prosecuting illegal immigrants, finished at number eight on the list with 932,518 immigrants.
But physical proximity isn’t always a requirement. Illinois has long been a hub of Eastern European immigration. In this case, initial settlement by a group led to increased future settlement by members of the same group.
“Immigration is greatly facilitated by networks that connect immigrants with jobs, help them integrate, and move on with their lives in the United States. And of course, they come for jobs,” Batalova [Janne Batalova, an immigration policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute] said.
The economic attraction explains the traditional migration of immigrants to big cities like Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Miami and Dallas, Batalova said. In 2008, nearly 38 million Americans hailed from another country, and more than 8 million of those resided in either Los Angeles or New York City, according to the 2008 American Community Survey.