depend on demographic estimates of America’s unauthorized immigrantpopulation. Although one particular estimate
the total number of unauthorizedimmigrants
in the U.S.
generates the most attention, there areimportant policy and research questions that require more detailed anddisaggregated estimates. For example, we believe that it is just as impor-tant to understand net annual change in the size of that population, aswell as the components of that change. This requires information abouthow many unauthorized immigrants
the U.S. each year and how many
via removal by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), voluntary emigration, or death. It is also important to understandwhere unauthorized immigrants come from, what their destination statesare, and how these patterns have changed over time. In this article, wedescribe a method for producing reliable annual estimates of the unautho-rized immigrant population and of the components of change in thatpopulation, all disaggregated by state. Our methods improve upon otheravailable estimates, provide more useful levels of statistical disaggregation,and can be replicated going forward at the national and state levels.Our estimate of the unauthorized immigrant population in the Uni-ted States
11.7 million as of January 2010
does not differ markedly from other recent estimates using similar data and methods (
Hoefer,Rytina, and Baker, 2011; Passel and Cohn, 2011). However, our esti-mates allow unique assessments of trends over time in the size of thatpopulation and of the component processes generating those trends. Forexample, we demonstrate below that the declining size of the unautho-rized immigrant population in recent years has occurred not just becauseof rapidly declining inﬂows (
immigrants entering without inspectionor overstaying their visas) but also because the number departing from thepopulation is large and increasing. What is more, we demonstrate impor-tant heterogeneity across states in these patterns. Finally, as we explainbelow, our estimates are subject to less sampling error than other recently published estimates.
REVIEW AND CRITIQUE OF EARLY ESTIMATES
Early estimates of the number of unauthorized immigrants
in theU.S. were based on strong assumptions and the creative use of very lim-ited data (Siegel, Passel, and Robinson, 1980; Espenshade, 1995; Donatoand Armenta, 2011). For example, Robinson (1980) began with the
MMIGRATION TO THE