Latest Estimate of Illegal Alien Population Exceeds Unemployed

Ali Meyer, CNS News, March 13, 2014

The Pew Research Center’s latest estimate of the number of illegal aliens residing in the United States—11.7 million as of March 2012–was less than the approximately 12.5 million people whom the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated were unemployed in the United States in the average month of 2012.

However, it exceeds the approximately 11.46 million people whom BLS says were unemployed in the average month of 2013.

Pew released its latest report on the “unauthorized immigrant” population on Sept. 23, 2013. Headlined “Population Decline of Unauthorized Immigrants Stalls, May Have Reversed,” it estimated that the illegal alien population in the United States in March 2012 was 11.7 million.

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“Although it appears that the unauthorized immigrant total has begun to grow again, the data are insufficient to say so definitively,” said Pew. “The difference in the size of the unauthorized population from 2010 (11.4 million) to 2012 (11.7 million), or from 2011 (11.5 million) to 2012 is not statistically significant.”

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If Pew’s estimate that there were 11.7 million illegal aliens in the United States as of March 2012 is accurate–and if that population has not begun to decline again as Pew estimated it did during 2007-2009 recession—then there would have been more illegal aliens in the United States in 2013 than people who were unemployed.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 11,460,000 Americans unemployed on average in 2013, down from 12,506,000 in 2012. A person is considered to be “unemployed” by BLS if they are in the civilian noninstitutional population (n.b. they are at least 16 years old and not on active duty in the military or in an institution such as a prison, nursing home, or mental hospital) and do not have a job but have actively sought one in the last four weeks.

People in the civilian noninstitutional population who are not employed and have not actively sought a job in the last four weeks are considered by BLS to be “not in the labor force.” In 2013, according to BLS, there was a record-high average of 90,290,000 people not in the labor force in the United States. That was up from 88,310,000 in 2012.

From 2012 to 2013, according to BLS, the average number of unemployed dropped by 1,046,000, but the average number of people not in the labor force increased by 1,980,000.

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