61 Million Immigrants and Their Young Children Now Live in the United States

Center for Immigration Studies, March 7, 2016

A new Center for Immigration Studies analysis shows that more than 61 million immigrants and their American-born children under age 18 now live in the United States. Although the national debate focuses primarily on illegal immigration, the Center’s report, based on December 2015 government data, shows that three-fourths (45.3 million) of the 61 million are legal immigrants and their children. This is the reality in which Congress proposed and almost passed the Schumer-Rubio “Gang of Eight” immigration bill, which would have doubled the number of legal immigrants allowed in the country.

Dr. Steven Camarota, the Center’s Director of Research, said, “These numbers raise profound questions that are seldom even asked: What number of immigrants can be assimilated? What is the absorption capacity of our schools, health care system, infrastructure, and labor market? What is the effect on the environment and quality of life from significantly increasing the nation’s population density?” Camarota continued, “With 45 million legal immigrants and their young children already here, does it make sense to continue admitting more than one million new legal permanent immigrants every year?”

View the report and individual state analysis here.

Among the findings of this analysis:

• In December 2015 there were 61 million immigrants (legal and illegal) and U.S.-born children under age 18 with at least one immigrant parent living in the United States.
• Immigrants allowed into the country legally and their children account for three-fourths (45.3 million) of all immigrants and their children.
• Almost one in five U.S. residents is now an immigrant or minor child of an immigrant parent.
• The numbers represent a complete break with the recent history of the United States. As recently as 1970, there were only 13.5 million immigrants and their young children in the country, accounting for one in 15 U.S. residents.
• Just since 2000, the number of immigrants and their children has increased by 18.4 million.
• The number of immigrants and their young children grew six times faster than the nation’s total population from 1970 to 2015–353 percent vs. 59 percent.
• In many states the increase in the number of immigrants and their minor children from 1970 to 2015 has been nothing short of astonishing:

  • In Georgia, this population grew 3,058 percent (from 55,000 to 1.75 million), 25 times faster than the overall state population.
  • In Nevada, this population grew 3,002 percent (from 26,000 to 821,000), six times faster than the overall state population.
  • In North Carolina, this population grew 2,937 percent (from 47,000 to 1.43 million), 30 times faster than the overall state population.
  • In Arkansas, this population grew 1,831 percent (from 12,000 to 228,000), 34 times faster than the overall state population.
  • In Tennessee, this population grew 1,823 percent (from 28,000 to 537,000), 27 times faster than the overall state population.
  • In Virginia, this population grew 1,150 percent (from 114,000 to 1.42 million), 15 times faster than the overall state population.
  • In Oklahoma, this population grew 1,139 percent (from 37,000 to 458,000), 22 times faster than the overall state population.
  • In Texas, this population grew 1,084 percent (from 582,000 to 6.89 million), 7 times faster than the overall state population.
  • In Arizona, this population grew 1,019 percent (from 131,000 to 1.46 million), four times faster than the overall state population.

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