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2008, Foreign-Born Population in the United States Statistical Portrait

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This statistical profile of the foreign-born population is based on Pew Hispanic Center tabulations of the Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is the largest household survey in the United States, with a sample of about 3 million addresses. It covers the topics previously covered in the long form of the decennial census. The ACS is designed to provide estimates of the size and characteristics of the resident population, which includes persons living in households and group quarters.

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Explore a statistical profile of the foreign-born U.S. population.

The specific data sources for this statistical profile are the 1% sample of the 2008 ACS Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) and the 5% sample of the 2000 Census IPUMS provided by the University of Minnesota.1 The IPUMS assigns uniform codes, to the extent possible, to data collected by the decennial census and the ACS from 1850 to 2008. Due to differences in the way in which the IPUMS and Census Bureau adjust income data and assign poverty status, data provided in Tables 27 – 34 might differ from data on these variables that are provided by the Census Bureau. For more information about the IPUMS, including variable definition and sampling error, please visit To learn more about the sampling strategy and associated error of the 2000 Census or the 2008 American Community Survey, please refer to Chapter 8 of the U.S. Census Summary File 3: 2000 and U.S. Cenus Design Methodology, respectively.

Because persons living in group quarters were not included in the 2005 ACS, the data contained in this profile of foreign-born persons, tabulated from the 2008 ACS, are not comparable with the data included in the Pew Hispanic Center’s Foreign Born at Mid-Decade report.

For the purposes of this statistical portrait, the foreign born include those persons who identified as naturalized citizens or non-citizens. Persons born in Puerto Rico and other outlying territories of the U.S. are included in the native-born population.

  1. Steven Ruggles, Matthew Sobek, Trent Alexander, Catherine A. Fitch, Ronald Goeken, Patricia Kelly Hall, Miriam King, and Chad Ronnander. Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: Version 3.0 (Machine-readable database). Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Population Center (producer and distributor), 2004.
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