U.S. Foreign-Born Population: How Much Change from 2009 to 2010?

Jeffrey S. Passel and D'Vera Cohn
Date of Publication: 
January, 2012
Source Organization: 
Pew Research Center

According to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS), the U.S. population in 2010 included 39.9 million foreign-born residents. This estimate is 1.5 million or four percent higher than the survey's 38.5 million estimate in 2009. A variety of additional data, however, suggest that both the absolute increase and the percentage increase in the foreign-born population were substantially smaller. An analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center concludes that the growth in the foreign-born population from 2009 to 2010 is a markedly lower 616,000 or 1.6 percent. 

Although the 2010 Census national and state counts agreed closely with the expected total based on the Bureau's postcensal population estimates for 2010, there were notable discrepancies for some subgroups.

According to an earlier Pew Hispanic analysis, the 2010 Census counted nearly one million more Hispanics than would be expected or 1.9 percent more than expected based on the postcensal population estimates for 2010. The count of non-Hispanic single-race Asians also was higher than would be expected—by about 700,000 or five percent. These groups account for almost three-quarters of immigrants. 

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Passel, J. and Cohn, D. (2012). U.S. Foreign-Born Population: How Much Change from 2009 to 2010? Pew Hispanic Center: Washington, D.C.