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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 20, 2016) – The U.S. unauthorized immigrant population – 11.1 million in 2014 – has stabilized since the end of the Great Recession, as the number from Mexico declined but the total from other regions of the world increased, according to new Pew Research Center estimates based on government data.
Mexicans remain the majority of the nation’s unauthorized immigrant population, but their estimated number – 5.8 million in 2014 – has declined by about half a million people since 2009. Meanwhile, the number of unauthorized immigrants from all other nations – mainly those from Asia and Central America – grew by 325,000 since 2009, to 5.3 million in 2014. The decline in unauthorized immigrants from some parts of the world, mainly Mexico, was roughly balanced by an increase in unauthorized immigrants from other parts of the world, so the total U.S. unauthorized immigrant population had no statistically significant change from 2009 to 2014.
Most states saw no statistically significant change in the size of their unauthorized immigrant populations from 2009 to 2014. In the seven states where the unauthorized immigrant population declined – Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Nevada and South Carolina – falling numbers of unauthorized Mexican immigrants were the key factor. Meanwhile, among the six states that had increases in their unauthorized immigrant populations, only one – Louisiana – could trace this to a rise in the number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico. The other states with increases were Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.
As the U.S. unauthorized immigrant population has stabilized, it also has become more settled. In 2014, two-thirds of unauthorized immigrant adults (66%) had lived in the U.S. for 10 years or more, compared with 41% in 2005. An estimated 14% of unauthorized immigrant adults had lived in the U.S. for less than five years in 2014, compared with 31% in 2005. Overall, unauthorized immigrant adults in 2014 had lived in the U.S. for a median of 13.6 years. In 2009, the median had been 10 years, compared with eight years in 2005.
Among the report’s findings:
- Unauthorized immigrants accounted for 3.5% of the overall U.S. population and 26% of the nation’s 43.6 million foreign-born residents in 2014.
- The country of birth that saw the greatest increase in unauthorized immigrants since 2009 is India – with a rise of about 130,000, for a total of 500,000 in 2014. Overall, the top five birth countries of unauthorized immigrants are Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, India and Honduras.
- In 2014, 59% of unauthorized immigrants lived in just six states – California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois. More than a third (36%) lived in California and Texas combined.
- The states with the highest shares of unauthorized immigrants in their overall populations in 2014 were Nevada (7%) and California (6%).