May 14, 2014

15 states with the highest share of immigrants in their population

Top 15 states with highest percentage of immigrants, California, New Mexico, New YorkA sharp rise in the number of immigrants living in the U.S. in recent decades serves as a backdrop for the debate in Congress over the nation’s immigration policies. In 1990, the U.S. had 19.8 million immigrants. That number rose to a record 40.7 million immigrants in 2012, among them 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants

Over this period, the number of immigrants in the U.S. increased more than five times as much as the U.S.-born population (106.1% versus 19.3%), according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. As a result, from 1990 to 2012, the share of immigrants in the entire U.S. increased from 7.9% in 1990 to 13.0% in 2012.

Today there are four states in which about one-in-five or more people are foreign born—California, New York, New Jersey and Florida. By contrast, in 1990, California was the only state to have more than a fifth of its population born outside the U.S.

The 15 states where immigrants made up the biggest share of the population in 2012 account for about eight-in-ten (79%) of the nation’s immigrants. Although the rankings have changed over the past few decades, almost all of the states that have the highest immigrant population shares have remained the same.

The number of immigrants have risen so quickly in some parts of the country that states typically thought of as hubs of immigration, such as Arizona, have slipped behind other states by some measures. In 2000, immigrants made up 12.9% of Arizona’s population, ninth-highest in the nation that year. By 2012, Arizona had dropped to 12th-highest, even though immigrants made up a higher share—13.6%—of the state’s population.

 

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Immigration Trends, Migration

  1. is a Writer/Editor at the Pew Research Center's Hispanic Trends Project.

  2. is an Infographics Designer at the Pew Research Center.

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5 Comments

  1. JOHN TOMY7 months ago

    PERCENTAGES ARE GREAT AND THEY DO SHOW GROWTH BUT PUT IN ACTUAL NUMBERS AND THAT GIVES YOU A WHOLE NEW OUTLOOK.

    Reply
  2. gpadanny7 months ago

    did you look at which states have economic growth, compared to immigration stats? my guess would be that immigration trends to follow economic potential. Populations tend to want several key elements, { stable living condition, financial stability, safe place to raise kids, etc.] If the economic conditions [re:growth] are favorable than more people will be attracted .

    Reply
  3. Angela7 months ago

    Curious why D.C. isn’t shown in the top 15 on the graph? Its foreign born population share is larger than Illinois’.

    Reply
    1. Jens7 months ago

      Hi Angela, we didn’t include DC because it is not a state. Thanks for reading – Jens Manuel Krogstad

      Reply
      1. Jenkins3 months ago

        You’re Jens, its the 52nd state! right Angela?

        Reply