Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States: Stable Numbers, Changing Origins

Randy Capps, Julia Gelatt, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Jennifer Van Hook
Date of Publication: 
December, 2020
Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute

Unauthorized immigration to the U.S. steadily increased throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, but dropped significantly in 2008-2009 due to the economic recession. Since then, rates of unauthorized immigration have remained steady, and it is estimated that there are currently 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. This fact sheet uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Homeland Security to give a demographic profile of this population. While the number of unauthorized immigrants has mostly remained steady following the recession, the demographic makeup of this group has changed. Immigrants from Mexico, for example, now make up a smaller share of the total unauthorized population, while shares from Central America and Asia are larger. This report includes information on:  countries of origin; the number of unauthorized immigrants who are members of mixed-status families; the states and counties that are home to the largest numbers of unauthorized immigrants; and socioeconomic characteristics such as English proficiency, educational attainment, and income levels. (Deb D’Anastasio for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

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Capps, R., Gelatt, J., Soto, A. & Hook, J. (2020, December). Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States: Stable Numbers, Changing Origins. Migration Policy Institute. https://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/rethinking-us-mexico-border-immigration-enforcement