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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.

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.

Click the categories below to see charts and data.
Population & age | Origin regions | Time in the U.S. & generations
Language use & education | Unauthorized immigrant population

Population & age

Foreign-born population in the United States, 1850-2018

Year Foreign-born population, in millions
1850 2.2
1860 4.1
1870 5.6
1880 6.7
1890 9.2
1900 10.3
1910 13.5
1920 13.9
1930 14.2
1940 11.6
1950 10.3
1960 9.7
1970 9.6
1980 14.1
1990 19.8
2000 31.1
2010 39.9
2013 41.3
2014 42.2
2015 43.2
2016 43.7
2017 44.4
2018 44.8

Pew Research Center

The foreign-born population residing in the U.S. reached a record 44.8 million, or 13.7% of the U.S. population, in 2018. This immigrant population has more than quadrupled since the 1960s, when the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act took effect. Though growth has begun to slow in recent years, the number of immigrants living in the United States is projected to almost double by 2065.

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Foreign born age pyramids U.S. born age pyramids

The age structure of the U.S. immigrant population has changed alongside the changing immigrant origin regions. As the largest group of immigrants shifted from Europeans, Canadians and other North Americans to Mexicans, the largest age group moved from ages 65-69 in 1960 to ages 40-44 in 2018. Today, European, Canadian and other North American immigrants tend to be older, with a median age of 53 and 54 respectively in 2018. Mexican immigrants are among the youngest, with a median age of 43. The age distribution of the U.S.-born population has also transformed. In 1960, towards the end of the Baby Boom, the population was younger than in 2018, when these age groups were much more evenly dispersed.

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Origin regions

Origins of the U.S. immigrant population, 1960-2018

Year Europe/Canada and other North America Asia Other Latin America Mexico
1960 84% 4% 3% 6%
1970 68% 7% 11% 8%
1980 42% 16% 16% 16%
1990 26% 22% 21% 22%
2000 19% 23% 22% 29%
2010 14% 25% 24% 29%
2015 13% 27% 24% 27%
2018 13% 28% 25% 25%

Pew Research Center

The regions of origin for immigrant populations residing in the U.S. have dramatically shifted since the passage of the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act. In 1960, 84% of immigrants living in the U.S. were born in Europe, Canada or other North American countries, while only 6% were from Mexico, 4% from Asia, 3% from the rest of Latin America and 3% from other areas. Immigrant origins now differ drastically, with European, Canadian and other North American immigrants making up only a small share of the foreign-born population (13%) in 2018. Asians (28%), Mexicans (25%) and other Latin Americans (25%) each make up about a quarter of the U.S. immigrant population, followed by 9% who were born in another region.

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Time in the U.S. & generations

Length of time in the U.S., 1970-2018

Year 0 to 10 years Over 10 years
1970 30.6% 69.4%
1980 39.6% 60.4%
1990 43.8% 56.2%
2000 42.4% 57.6%
2010 34.7% 65.3%
2013 28.4% 71.6%
2014 28.1% 71.9%
2015 27.9% 72.1%
2016 27.6% 72.4%
2017 27.8% 72.2%
2018 27.5% 72.5%

Pew Research Center

The nation’s immigrants are more settled today than they were in 1990, when the share of those who had arrived within the past 10 years peaked at 44%. Now, the amount of time that immigrants have spent in the U.S. has grown. In 2018, 73% of immigrants had lived in the U.S. for over 10 years, up from 56% in 1990 (but similar to the share in 1970.)

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Among new arrivals, Asians outnumber Hispanics

Year Hispanic Asian
2000 47.6% 22.5%
2001 44.8% 22.3%
2002 48.4% 24.7%
2003 51.4% 23.2%
2004 50.2% 24.1%
2005 48.0% 24.8%
2006 42.8% 29.4%
2007 35.6% 32.9%
2008 35.1% 32.2%
2009 32.0% 35.9%
2010 29.5% 38.1%
2011 26.5% 39.0%
2012 27.9% 38.0%
2013 28.0% 37.7%
2014 30.4% 37.3%
2015 31.4% 36.2%
2016 32.7% 33.7%
2017 30.9% 35.2%
2018 31.4% 36.7%

Pew Research Center

Starting as early as 2010, more Asian immigrants than Hispanic immigrants have arrived annually in the U.S., a reversal of historical trends. In the early 2000s, the number of newly arrived Hispanic immigrants greatly outnumbered newly arrived Asian immigrants. Around the time of the Great Recession, Latin American immigration declined sharply, especially from Mexico.

CORRECTION (Sept. 21, 2020): An update to the methodology used to tabulate figures in the chart above has changed all figures from 2001 and 2012. This new methodology has also allowed the inclusion of the figure from 2000. Futhermore, the earlier version of the chart incorrectly showed the partial year shares of Hispanic and Asian recent arrivals in 2015; the corrected complete year shares are 31% and 36%, respectively.

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First- and second-generation share of the population, 1900-2018

Year 2nd generation 1st generation
1900 20.8 13.7
1910 20.1 14.6
1920 20.6 12.7
1930 20.1 11.3
1940 18.8 8.5
1950 16.2 6.9
1960 13.8 5.6
1970 12.0 4.8
1980 10.3 6.2
1990 9.6 8.2
2000 10.0 11.4
2006 10.5 12.1
2010 11.3 12.7
2015 12.1 13.3
2016 12.0 13.5
2017 12.0 13.7
2018 12.3 14.1

Pew Research Center

The U.S.-born children of immigrants (second-generation Americans) make up 12% of the nation’s population. By 2050, immigrants and their children could account for 19% and 18% of the population, respectively, according to Pew Research Center projections.

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Language use & education

English proficiency among U.S. immigrants, 1980-2018

Year % of immigrants
1980 57.2%
1990 53.0%
2000 49.0%
2010 48.4%
2013 50.4%
2014 50.4%
2015 50.9%
2016 51.0%
2017 52.2%
2018 53.2%

Pew Research Center

Since 1980, the share of immigrants who are proficient in English (those who speak only English at home or speak English at least “very well”) has declined, though it has increased slightly in recent years. This decline has been driven entirely by those who speak only English at home, which fell from 30% of immigrants ages 5 and older in 1980 to 17% in 2018. The share who speaks English “very well,” meanwhile, has increased slightly, from 27% to 37% over the same time period.

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Languages spoken among U.S. immigrants, 2018

Language % of immigrants
English only 17%
Spanish 42%
Chinese 6%
Hindi 5%
Filipino/Tagalog 4%
French 3%
Vietnamese 3%
Dravidian 2%
Arabic 2%
All other 17%

Pew Research Center

Among the nation’s immigrants, Spanish is by far the most spoken non-English language (42% of immigrants say they speak Spanish at home), but it is not the only non-English language spoken by immigrants. Some 6% of immigrants speak Chinese (including Mandarin and Cantonese), 5% speak Hindi or a related language, 4% speak Filipino or Tagalog, 3% speak Vietnamese, 3% speak French and 2% speak Dravidian.

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Educational attainment among U.S. immigrants, 1960-2018

Year Bachelor's degree Postgraduate degree
1960 2.5% 2.6%
1970 4.0% 5.0%
1980 7.0% 8.7%
1990 11.5% 8.8%
2000 13.7% 10.3%
2010 15.9% 11.1%
2013 16.4% 11.9%
2014 16.6% 12.0%
2015 17.1% 12.6%
2016 17.2% 12.8%
2017 17.8% 13.4%
2018 18.1% 13.9%

Pew Research Center

Education levels among the nation’s immigrants have been steadily rising since the 1960s, just like the native-born population. While there have been gains across the board, the increases have been most dramatic among immigrants from Asia, Europe and the Middle East and less so among those from Mexico and Central America.

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Unauthorized immigrant population

Chart showing that the U.S. unauthorized immigrant total rose from 1990 to 2007, when it began to fall. Since then, the population declined to 10.5 million in 2017.

U.S. unauthorized immigrant total rises, then falls

Year Estimate + or - value for range
2017 10,500,000 160,000
2016 10,700,000 190,000
2015 11,000,000 190,000
2014 11,100,000 180,000
2013 11,200,000 170,000
2012 11,200,000 170,000
2011 11,500,000 160,000
2010 11,400,000 150,000
2009 11,300,000 150,000
2008 11,700,000 160,000
2007 12,200,000 160,000
2006 11,600,000 170,000
2005 11,100,000 150,000
2000 8,600,000 875,000
1995 5,700,000 750,000
1990 3,500,000

Note: Shading shows range of estimated 90% confidence interval.
Source: Pew Research Center estimates based on augmented U.S. Census Bureau data. See Methodology for details.

Pew Research Center

The nation’s unauthorized immigrant population grew rapidly between 1990 and 2007, reaching a peak of 12.2 million. Since then, the population declined to 10.5 million in 2017. Unauthorized immigrants from Mexico make up less than half of all unauthorized immigrants and have been a driver of the group’s population decline – the number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico fell from a peak of 6.9 million in 2007 to 4.9 million in 2017.

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Pie chart showing that based on 2017 estimates, unauthorized immigrants are almost a quarter of U.S. foreign-born population.

About one-quarter of the U.S. foreign-born population is unauthorized immigrants, while the majority of the nation’s immigrants are in the U.S. legally. Naturalized citizens account for the largest portion of the foreign-born population (45%).

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