There are more immigrants living in America than any other country on the planet.
According to a Pew Research piece released on August 20, 2020 titled “Key findings about U.S. immigrants”, over 40 million people living in the United States hail from another country. Altogether, the U.S.’s migrant numbers make up one-fifth of the world’s migrant population. The study observed “The population of immigrants is also very diverse, with just about every country in the world represented among U.S. immigrants.”
In 2018, America’s foreign-born population was nearly 45 million. Ever since the Hart-Cellar Act of 1965 was passed, the immigrant population in America has increased over fourfold. Nowadays, immigrants make up 13.7 percent of the American population, which marks triple the percentage present in 1970 (4.8 percent).
The majority of immigrants (77 percent) have come to the U.S. legally, while roughly a quarter are illegal aliens per Pew Research Center estimates. However, the number of illegal aliens is heavily disputed. A study from Yale University estimated that there are roughly 22 million illegal aliens in America.
Back to the Pew Research numbers. In the time period of 1990 to 2007, the illegal alien population increased over threefold — from 3.5 million in 1990 to 12.2 million in 2007. The latter number is the supposed record high.
Interestingly, Mexican migration, which is usually the largest illegal migrant group according to nationality, has been on the decline in the last decade or so. In the meantime, illegal migration from Central America and Asia has increased in that period.
As far as naturalizations go, 800,000 immigrants filed applications to become naturalized. Although naturalizations have been surging lately, they’re still below the 2007 level of 1.4 million applicants.
Mexico remains the leading country of origin for immigrants to U.S. The Pew report broke down some of the numbers:
Mexico is the top origin country of the U.S. immigrant population. In 2018, roughly 11.2 million immigrants living in the U.S. were from there, accounting for 25% of all U.S. immigrants. The next largest origin groups were those from China (6%), India (6%), the Philippines (4%) and El Salvador (3%).
Indeed, there is a shift towards more Asiatic migration, which the Pew study highlighted:
By region of birth, immigrants from Asia combined accounted for 28% of all immigrants, close to the share of immigrants from Mexico (25%). Other regions make up smaller shares: Europe, Canada and other North America (13%), the Caribbean (10%), Central America (8%), South America (7%), the Middle East and North Africa (4%) and sub-Saharan Africa (5%).
Annually, more than 1 million immigrants arrive stateside. Though, the top country of origin is changing, a pattern that Pew is recognizing:
More than 1 million immigrants arrive in the U.S. each year. In 2018, the top country of origin for new immigrants coming into the U.S. was China, with 149,000 people, followed by India (129,000), Mexico (120,000) and the Philippines (46,000).
By race and ethnicity, more Asian immigrants than Hispanic immigrants have arrived in the U.S. in most years since 2010. Immigration from Latin America slowed following the Great Recession, particularly for Mexico, which has seen both decreasing flows into the United States and large flows back to Mexico in recent years.
Overall, Asians are expected to be the largest migrant group in the U.S. by 2055. The Pew article outlined what the numbers should like by 2065:
Pew Research Center estimates indicate that in 2065, those who identify as Asian will make up some 38% of all immigrants; as Hispanic, 31%; White, 20%; and Black, 9%.
Based on Pew’s projections, immigrants and their descendants will be responsible for 88 percent of American population growth through 2065 if current migration trends stay in place.
In terms of where immigrants live, about half (45 percent) of America’s migrants live in three states — California (24 percent), Texas (11 percent), and Florida (10 percent) — with California having the largest immigration population of all states in 2018 at 10.6 million. On the other hand, Texas, Florida, and New York all have more than 4 million immigrants each. The Pew report provided a succinct regional composition of where immigrants are mostly living in:
In terms of regions, about two-thirds of immigrants lived in the West (34%) and South (34%). Roughly one-fifth lived in the Northeast (21%) and 11% were in the Midwest.
Similarly, the report provided an overview of the principal metropolitan areas where migrants are concentrated in:
In 2018, most immigrants lived in just 20 major metropolitan areas, with the largest populations in the New York, Los Angeles and Miami metro areas. These top 20 metro areas were home to 28.7 million immigrants, or 64% of the nation’s total foreign-born population. Most of the nation’s unauthorized immigrant population lived in these top metro areas as well.
The levels of education attainment among immigrant groups are also rather curious. In general, immigrants in America have lower levels of education than U.S. natives. In 2018 alone, 27 percent of immigrants did not complete high school, whereas 8 percent of the U.S. born did not complete high school.
There are stark differences between different groups. Immigrants coming from Mexico and Central America are more likely to be high school dropouts (54 percent and 47 percent for each region). Those born in America only had an 8 percent dropout rate.
Similarly, immigrants from Mexico (7 percent) and Central America (11 percent) had the lowest rate of holding bachelor’s degrees or higher.
On matters of English proficiency, Pew also highlighted some of the differences between migrant groups:
Immigrants from Mexico have the lowest rates of English proficiency (34%), followed by those from Central America (35%), East and Southeast Asia (50%) and South America (56%). Immigrants from Canada (96%), Oceania (82%), Europe (75%) and sub-Saharan Africa (74%) have the highest rates of English proficiency.
While the mainstream media and your run-of-the-mill political pundits will be ecstatic about America having so many migrants, what they won’t tell you are the hidden costs of mass migration. There’s no free lunch, even with an activity that is supposed to be economically beneficial for a nation.
For starters, there is clear evidence that low-skilled migration has a negative impact on working class American’s wages. In addition, the low-skilled migration wave that has characterized migration patterns to the U.S. since 1965 has been largely a taxpayer burden. According to a 2015 report from the Center for Immigration Studies, 73 percent of Central American and Mexican households use welfare programs.
The political implications of mass migration are also quite alarming. It’s no coincidence why Democrats are enthusiastic mass migration boosters. At the end of the day, migrant groups are a reliable vote for the Democratic Party and will likely deliver them a permanent federal majority if there is no legislative pause on mass migration. That means a host of issues that conservatives hold dearly — gun rights to free speech— could all be at risk if mass migration continues.
The GOP must wake-up to this clear statistical trend and pursue an immigration moratorium ASAP.