Unauthorized Immigrants: Length of Residency, Patterns of Parenthood

Paul Taylor, Mark Hugo Lopez, Jeffrey Passel and Seth Motel
Date of Publication: 
December, 2011
Source Organization: 
Pew Research Center

Nearly two-thirds of the 10.2 million unauthorized adult immigrants in the U.S. have lived in this country for at least 10 years and nearly half are parents of minor children, according to estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center.

The analysis finds that 35 percent of unauthorized adult immigrants have resided in the U.S. for 15 years or more; 28 percent for 10 to 14 years; 22 percent for 5 to 9 years; and 15percent for fewer than five years.

The share that has been in the country at least 15 years has more than doubled since 2000, when about one-in-six (16 percent) unauthorized adult immigrants had lived here for that duration. By the same token, the share of unauthorized adult immigrants who have lived in the country for fewer than five years has fallen by half during this period—from 32 percent in 2000 to 15 percent in 2010.

The rising share of unauthorized immigrants who have been in the U.S. for a long duration reflects the fact that the sharpest growth in this population occurred during the late 1990s and early 2000s—and that the inflow has slowed down significantly in recent years, as the U.S. economy has sputtered and border enforcement has tightened. It also reflects the fact that relatively few long-duration unauthorized immigrants have returned to their countries of origin.

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Taylor, P., Hugo Lopez, M., Passel. J. and Motel, S. (2011). Unauthorized Immigrants: Length of Residency, Patterns of Parenthood. Pew Hispanic Center: Washington, D.C. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/hispanic/2011/12/01/unauthorized-immigrants-length-of-residency-patterns-of-parenthood/