Unauthorized immigrants make up a quarter of all U.S. foreign-born residents, but the share varies considerably among states. In 2016, they accounted for about a third of all immigrants in some states but fewer than one-in-ten in others, according to Pew Research Center’s recently released estimates.
The estimates also found notable differences among states in other measures, such as the share of unauthorized immigrants who are Mexican born, the share who arrived in the previous five years and the share of the labor force consisting of unauthorized immigrants.
The variations by state can be explored in a new interactive and downloadable series of a dozen maps and tables. Additional topics covered in the new maps and tables include the estimated number of unauthorized immigrants and change since 2007, their share of the population, the share of K-12 students with unauthorized immigrant parents and the top industries and occupations where unauthorized immigrants work. (Estimates are not available for states with smaller unauthorized immigrant populations because of the small sample sizes in the census survey data that are the basis for our numbers.)
Interactive: Unauthorized immigrants by state
Explore maps and tables showing detailed data on unauthorized immigrants across the country.
Also available is another previously released interactive graphic exploring population trends for states, birth countries and regions.
All estimates are for 2016, the latest year for which Center estimates are available.
1Unauthorized immigrants make up about a quarter of the U.S. foreign-born population, but in no state are they a majority of that population. They constitute about a third or more of the population in at least 16 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. However, in Maine and Vermont, fewer than one-in-ten immigrants are unauthorized.
2Mexicans account for about half of all unauthorized immigrants nationwide, but their shares are lower in the East. In the four states that share a border with Mexico, Mexicans make up more than two-thirds of the total of all unauthorized immigrants (California, 69%; Arizona, 78%; New Mexico, 91%; and Texas, 73%). But in Florida, which has the third largest unauthorized immigrant population of any state, Mexicans are only 15% of that population. In Connecticut, they are 14% of the total, in Virginia 12% and in Maryland 9% of the total.
3The share of unauthorized immigrant adults who are recent arrivals generally is lowest in the western half of the U.S. Those who arrived in the previous five years in California account for 10% of that state’s unauthorized immigrant adults; that figure is 12% in Nevada and New Mexico. One reason is that the number of unauthorized immigrants arriving in Western states often included high shares of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico, but new arrivals from there have plummeted over the past decade. Two exceptions to this East-West pattern are Alaska (recent arrivals are 43% of total unauthorized immigrant adults) and Hawaii (34%). Nationally, 18% of unauthorized immigrants are recent arrivals.
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4Coastal and Mexican border states tend to have the highest shares of unauthorized immigrants in the labor force. Nationally, 4.8% of people working or looking for work are unauthorized immigrants, but a look at the interactive map shows that states such as California (8.6%), Texas (8.2%) and New Jersey (7.6%) exceeded that, as did Nevada (10.6%). Meanwhile, states along the Canadian border tend to have below-average shares.