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A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States

A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States

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Published by: joeames on Jun 26, 2011
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April 14, 2009
Pew Hispanic Center
is a nonpartisan research organization that seeks to improve public understandingof the diverse Hispanic population in the United States and to chronicle Latinos' growing impact on the nation.It does not take positions on policy issues. The center is part of the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan "facttank" based in Washington, D.C., and it is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, a Philadelphia-based publiccharity. All of the Center’s reports are available at www.pewhispanic.org. The staff of the Center is:Paul Taylor, DirectorRakesh Kochhar, Associate Director for Research Mark Hugo Lopez, Associate DirectorRichard Fry, Senior Research Associate Jeffrey S. Passel, Senior DemographerGretchen Livingston, Senior Researcher Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, Senior AnalystDaniel Dockterman, Research Assistant Mary Seaborn, Administrative Manager
1615 L Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036-5610
Phone: 202-419-3600
Fax: 202-419-3608
www.pewhispanic.orgCopyright © 2009
A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants inthe United States
Jeffrey S. Passel D’Vera CohnSenior Demographer Senior WriterPew Hispanic Center Pew Research Center
Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants i
Pew Hispanic Center April 14, 2009
Executive Summary
Unauthorized immigrants living in the United States are more geographicallydispersed than in the past and are more likely than either U.S. born residents orlegal immigrants to live in a household with a spouse and children. In addition, agrowing share of the children of unauthorized immigrant parents—73%—wereborn in this country and are U.S. citizens.These are among the key findings of a new analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center,a project of the Pew Research Center, which builds on previous work estimatingthe size and growth of the U.S. unauthorized immigrant population. A 2008 reportby the Center estimated that 11.9 million unauthorized immigrants lived in theUnited States; it concluded that the undocumented immigrant population grewrapidly from 1990 to 2006 but has since stabilized.
In this new analysis, theCenter estimates that the rapid growth of unauthorized immigrant workers alsohas halted; it finds that there were 8.3 million undocumented immigrants in theU.S. labor force in March 2008.Based on March 2008 data collected by the Census Bureau, the Center estimatesthat unauthorized immigrants are 4% of the nation’s population and 5.4% of itsworkforce. Their children, both those who are unauthorized immigrantsthemselves and those who are U.S. citizens, make up 6.8% of the studentsenrolled in the nation’s elementary and secondary schools.About three-quarters (76%) of the nation’sunauthorized immigrant population are Hispanics.The majority of undocumented immigrants (59%) arefrom Mexico, numbering 7 million. Significantregional sources of unauthorized immigrants includeAsia (11%), Central America (11%), South America(7%), the Caribbean (4%) and the Middle East (lessthan 2%).
State Settlement Patterns
Unauthorized immigrants are spread more broadlythan in the past into states where relatively few hadsettled two decades ago. This is especially true in
Jeffrey S. Passel and D’Vera Cohn.
Trends in Unauthorized Immigration: Undocumented Inflow Now Trails Legal Inflow.
 Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center, October 2008.
Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants ii
Georgia, North Carolina and other southeasternstates. Long-time immigrant destinations,including Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, NewYork and Texas, also have retained their appealto undocumented migrants.However, growth of this population has slowedin California. Although the Golden State stillhouses the largest number of undocumentedmigrants—2.7 million, or almost double thenumber in 1990—it is home to a markedlysmaller proportion of them. Its 42% share in1990 declined to 22% in 2008.
Families and Children
Most unauthorized immigrant adults residewith immediate family members—spousesor children. About half of undocumentedadults live with their own children under 18.Nearly half of unauthorized immigranthouseholds (47%) consist of a couple withchildren. That is a greater share than forhouseholds of U.S.-born residents (21%) orlegal immigrants (35%). This differencestems in large part from the relativelyyouthful composition of the unauthorizedimmigrant population.Most children of unauthorized immigrants—73% in 2008—are U.S. citizens by birth.The number of U.S.-born children in mixed-status families (unauthorized immigrantparents and citizen children) has expandedrapidly in recent years, to 4 million in 2008from 2.7 million in 2003. By contrast, thenumber of children who are unauthorizedimmigrants themselves (1.5 million in 2008)hardly changed in the five-year period andmay have declined slightly since 2005.
Children of unauthorized immigrants are agrowing share of students in kindergarten
Pew Hispanic Center April 14, 2009

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