The sharp decline in the U.S. population of unauthorized immigrants that accompanied the 2007-2009 recession has bottomed out, and the number may be rising again. As of March 2012, 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants were living in the United States, according to a new preliminary Pew Research Center estimate based on U.S. government data.
The estimated number of unauthorized immigrants peaked at 12.2 million in 2007 and fell to 11.3 million in 2009, breaking a rising trend that had held for decades. Although there are indications the number of unauthorized immigrants may be rising, the 2012 population estimate is the midpoint of a wide range of possible values and in a statistical sense is no different from the 2009 estimate.
Different trends appear among the six states in which 60% of unauthorized immigrants live—California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas.1 Of these, only Texas had increases but no decrease in its unauthorized immigrant population over the 2007-2011 period. The other five states (and the balance of the country) all experienced peak numbers of unauthorized immigrants in 2007 followed by declines over the next year or two.
In terms of country of origin, the post-2007 population dip was even sharper among Mexicans (who made up 52% of 2012 unauthorized immigrants) than the overall population decrease, although the Mexican decline appears to have stopped after 2010. In 2012, 6.05 million Mexican unauthorized immigrants were in the U.S., a decline of about 900,000 from 2007.
[Editor’s Note: The rest of the report is available at the original article link below.]