Central American Immigrants in the United States

Erin Babich and Jeanne Batalova
Date of Publication: 
August, 2021
Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute

The Central American-born population in the United States has grown more than tenfold since 1980 and by 24 percent since 2010. The Migration Policy Institute’s article “Central American Immigrants in the United States” by Erin Babich and Jeanne Batalova provides information on the size, geographic distribution, and socioeconomic characteristics of the Central American immigration population in the United States. The report notes how Central American immigration has been driven by various factors, including economic instability, the desire to reunite with family in the U.S., natural disaster, government corruption, gang activity, and high homicide rates. As a result, Central American immigrants in the United States totaled 3.8 million in 2019, making up 8 percent of the U.S. foreign-born population of 44.9 million. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Homeland Security’s Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, the report details the distribution of Central American immigrants by state and key cities, their English proficiency, their age, education, and employment, as well as their levels of income and poverty. The report also provides information on their immigration pathways and naturalization, the unauthorized immigrant population, health coverage, the diaspora, and remittances to Central America. (Erika Hernandez for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)


Babich, E., & Batalova, J. (2021, August 11). Central American Immigrants in the United States. Migration Policy Institute. https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/central-american-immigrants-united-states