Characteristics of the U.S. foreign-born population: 1960-2018

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There were a record 44.8 million immigrants living in the U.S. in 2018, making up 13.7% of the nation’s population. This represents a more than fourfold increase since 1960, when 9.7 million immigrants lived in the U.S., accounting for 5.4% of the total U.S. population. Click the link below each summary table to download the data.

To find more context on the figures below, visit the blog post “Key findings about U.S. immigrants,” and for a downloadable version of the tables below, see the PDF and the Excel workbook. For facts on Latinos in the United States, see our profile on U.S. Hispanics.

For details on our regional grouping of countries, see our “Countries by regional classification” document.

Nativity of U.S. immigrants

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2018
Foreign-born population total 9,729,147 9,744,833 14,079,460 19,682,004 31,133,481 39,916,875 44,760,622
Percent born in Mexico 6.0% 8.1% 15.6% 21.7% 29.4% 29.4% 25.0%
Percent who are citizens N/A 63.7% 50.4% 40.5% 40.3% 43.7% 50.7%

Download Excel sheet with all population and nativity findings

 

Race of U.S. immigrants

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2018
Percent who are white alone, not Hispanic N/A N/A 49.3% 31.2% 22.0% 18.7% 17.7%

Download Excel sheet with all race findings

 

Language use among U.S. immigrants

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2018
Percent speaking English at least very well (ages 5 and older) N/A N/A 57.2% 53.0% 49.0% 48.4% 53.2%

Download Excel sheet with all language findings

 

Age and gender of U.S. immigrants

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2018
Median age (in years) 57 50 39 37 37 41 45
Percent who are female 51.1% 54.1% 53.4% 51.1% 50.2% 51.0% 51.8%

Download Excel sheet with all age and gender findings

 

Marital status and fertility of U.S. immigrants

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2018
Percent who are married (ages 18 and older) 68.4% 67.0% 64.1% 61.9% 62.8% 60.0% 61.2%
Percent who are women ages 15-44 giving birth in past year N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 8.5% 7.5%

Download Excel sheet with all marriage and fertility findings

 

Education of U.S. immigrants

Highest degree completed, ages 25 and older

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2018
High school or less 88.9% 82.4% 70.1% 60.9% 57.4% 54.2% 49.2%
Two-year degree/some college 6.0% 8.7% 14.1% 18.8% 18.5% 18.8% 18.8%
Bachelor’s degree or more 5.1% 9.0% 15.8% 20.3% 24.1% 27.1% 32.0%

Download Excel sheet with all education findings

 

Work status and occupations of U.S. immigrants

Ages 16 and older

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2018
Percent in labor force (among civilian population) 47.5% 48.3% 55.4% 64.2% 60.5% 67.7% 66.6%

Download Excel sheet with all work findings

 

Earnings and income of U.S. immigrants

Ages 16 and older

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2018
Median annual personal earnings
(in 2018 dollars, among those with earnings)
N/A N/A N/A $28,384 $29,428 $27,744 $31,900
Median annual household income (in 2018 dollars) N/A N/A $42,473 $52,893 $57,561 $52,829 $59,000

Download Excel sheet with all income findings

 

Poverty among U.S. immigrants

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2018
Percent living in poverty 19.1% 14.6% 15.2% 17.8% 17.7% 18.6% 14.6%

Download Excel sheet with all poverty findings

 

Homeownership and households of U.S. immigrants

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2018
Percent in family households 88.0% 86.5% 85.9% 87.4% 87.9% 87.0% 82.3%

Download Excel sheet with all homeownership and household findings

 

Region and top states of residence of U.S. immigrants

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2018
West 19.8% 24.0% 32.4% 39.6% 37.9% 35.4% 33.9%
California 13.7% 18.0% 25.4% 32.7% 28.5% 25.4% 23.7%
South 9.9% 14.5% 20.6% 23.2% 27.7% 31.9% 33.7%
Texas 3.2% 3.6% 6.1% 7.7% 9.3% 10.4% 11.0%
Florida 2.7% 5.5% 7.5% 8.4% 8.6% 9.2% 10.0%
Northeast 47.0% 42.1% 32.0% 26.5% 23.2% 21.5% 21.2%
New York 23.5% 21.5% 17.0% 14.4% 12.4% 10.8% 10.0%
New Jersey 6.4% 6.5% 5.4% 4.9% 4.7% 4.6% 4.6%
Midwest 23.3% 19.5% 15.0% 10.8% 11.3% 11.1% 11.3%

Download Excel sheet with all region findings

Source: Pew Research Center tabulations of 2018 American Community Survey (1% IPUMS).
“Statistical Portrait of the Foreign-Born Population in the United States, 2018”