March 9, 2015

U.S. immigrant population projected to rise, even as share falls among Hispanics, Asians

Foreign-Born Share of Population to Reach Historic High by 2060The nation’s foreign-born population is projected to reach 78 million by 2060, making up 18.8% of the total U.S. population, according to new Census Bureau population projections. That would be a new record for the foreign-born share, with the bureau projecting that the previous record high of 14.8% in 1890 will be passed as soon as 2025.

Yet while Asian and Hispanic immigrants are projected to continue to be the main sources of U.S. immigrant population growth, the new projections show that the share of the foreign born is expected to fall among these two groups. Today, 66.0% of U.S. Asians are immigrants, but that share is predicted to fall to 55.4% by 2060. And while about a third of U.S. Hispanics (34.9%) are now foreign-born, the Census Bureau projects that this share too will fall, to 27.4% in 2060. These declines are due to the growing importance of births as drivers of each group’s population growth. Already, for Hispanics, U.S. births drive 78% of population growth.

Census Projects Share of Asian, Hispanic Population Born Abroad to Fall by 2060

Meanwhile, foreign-born shares among whites and blacks are expected to rise. Today, 8.9% of those who identify as black were born in another country, but that number is projected to almost double – to 16.5% – by 2060. Among whites, 4.1% are foreign-born today, but that share is projected to double to 8.1% in 2060.

The U.S. today has more immigrants than any other nation. As the nation’s immigrant population grows, so too will the number of children who have at least one immigrant parent. As of 2012, these second generation Americans made up 11.5% of the population, and that share is expected to rise to 18.4% by 2050, according to Pew Research Center projections.

This is the first time in 14 years the Census Bureau has made projections of the foreign-born population. Predicting future immigration and birth trends is a tricky process, and the bureau has substantially changed its projections from year to year in light of reduced immigration and birth rates.

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, U.S. Census, Asian Americans, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Population Projections

  1. Photo of Anna Brown

    is a research analyst focusing on social and demographic trends at Pew Research Center.