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US Immigration Snapshot 2011

Snapshot of U.S. Immigration 2011

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  • Total foreign-born population [1] 
  40 million
  • Total US population  
  312 million
  • % Foreign-born
  12.8%
 

   Foreign-Born Population

  • Naturalized Citizens [2]
18 million
  • Legal Noncitizens    
11 million
  • Unauthorized immigrants [3]
11 million

 
Main source of immigrants[i]

  • Latin America                  53%                          Asia     29%

  • Europe                            12%                          Africa    4%

  • North America                 2%                          Oceania  0.5%

 
Permanent Residence [5] (people approved)
In 2011, 1.06 million visas were issued for permanent residence:
Family & Immediate Relatives                             688,089                     64.8%
Employment                                                       139,339                      13.1%
Refugees and Asylees                                      168,460                       10.6%
Diversity (underrepresented countries)              50,103                        4.7%
 
Of the 1.06 million permanent visas:
580,092 adjustments were within the United States            54.6%
481,948 were new arrivals                                                    45.4%
 
  2009 2010 2011
  Mexico          14.6 % Mexico            13.3 % Mexico           13.5 %
  China              5.7 % China                 6.8 % China               8.2  %
  India               5.1 % Philippines        6.6 % Philippines       6.5 %
Total 1,130,818 1,042,625 1,062,040
 






Main source of legal immigrants by country and year:
 
Temporary Visas (nonimmigrant)
In 2011, the U.S. Department of State issued approximately 7.5 million nonimmigrant visas and about 75% of the issuances are temporary visitors for business and for pleasure. [6] Mexico is the leading country for temporary visa issuances (1,315,116), followed by China, Brazil, India and Columbia. [7]   
 
Refugee/Humanitarian [8]
56,384 refugees were admitted to the U.S. in 2011. The main countries of origin were: Burma 30.1%; Bhutan 26.6%; Iraq 16.7%; Somalia 5.6% and Cuba 5.2%. The ceiling was 80,000.
 
In 2011, 24,988 individuals were granted asylum. The main countries of origin were: China 34%; Venezuela 4.4%, Ethiopia 4.3%, Egypt 4.1% and Iraq 4.4%.
 
Refugee main countries of origin for 2009, 2010, 2011:
 
  2009 2010 2011
  Burma      24.4% Burma        22.8% Burma          30.1%
  Bhutan     18.0% Iraq            24.6% Bhutan         26.6%
  Iraq          16.7% Bhutan       16.9% Iraq              16.7%
  Somalia     5.6% Somalia       6.7% Somalia         5.6%
Total 74,602 73,293 56,384
 
Asylees main countries of origin for 2009, 2010, 2011:
 
  2009 2010 2011
  China            27.7% China                 31.7% China                34.4 %
  Ethiopia          5.0% Ethiopia               5.2%                   Venezuela           4.4%
  Venezuela      2.6% Venezuela           3.1%  Ethiopia               4.3%
  Egypt              2.2% Egypt                   2.5% Egypt                   4.1%
Total 22,219 21,056 24,988
 
Refugees may adjust to legal permanent resident status after one year of residence; asylees may apply for lawful residence one year after their grant of asylum.
 
Unauthorized Immigration
 
In 2011, approximately 11 million unauthorized immigrants are estimated to be residing in the United States. Three-fourths of unauthorized immigrants were from North America (Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America), with most immigrants came from Mexico (about 59 percent, 6.8 million). Roughly 85 percent of unauthorized immigrants fell into age groups below 44 years (59 percent were ages 25 to 44). [9]
 
 
Labor Market Statistics
 
In 2011, there were 24.4 million foreign-born workers in the labor market, making up 15.9 percent of the U.S. labor force (153.6 million). The labor force participation rate of foreign-born was 67.0 percent in 2011, which is higher is the native born (63.6 percent). The unemployment rate for foreign-born workers decreased slightly from 9.8 percent to 9.1 percent.[10]
 
Foreign-born workers are more likely to be employed in service occupations (24.6 percent) than that of native-born workers (16.4 percent). In 2011, for foreign-born workers employed within the service occupation, 15.8 percent worked in production, transportation and material moving occupations, 13.5 percent were in natural resources, construction and maintenance occupations.[11] Within health care profession, foreign-born workers made up approximately 15.8 percent (2,114,029) of all health-care workers in the United States, and 28.6 percent of physicians and surgeons were foreign born.[12] [13]
 
Immigrants are also found to be active entrepreneurs. According to a study by the Brookings Institution, approximately 16 percent of the high-impact, high-tech companies includes at least one immigrant founder, 77 percent of whom are U.S. citizens. Most of those immigrant entrepreneurs are well-educated. Approximately half hold a master’s degree or higher, and they are more than twice as likely as native-born founders to hold a PhD degree.[14]
The median weekly earnings in 2011 for foreign-born workers were $609 compare to $780 for native-born workers. Native-born workers on average have higher earnings than their foreign-born counterparts with same educational attainments, but the gap tends to be narrower among workers with higher education. For instance, for foreign-born workers with less than high school degree, they earned about 83.9 percent of earnings of native-born workers; for foreign-born workers with undergraduate degree or higher, the ratio went up to 99.8 percent.[15]
 
 
 
Additional Statistics on Foreign-Born Population by State
 
 
Foreign Born, by States and Region of Birth: 2011, absolute numbers
Foreign Born, by States and Region of Birth: 2011, percentage
Legal Permanent Resident Flow by State of Residence: Fiscal Years 2009 to 2011, Page 4, Table 4
Profile on Legal Permanent Residents: 2011, State of Residence
Persons Naturalized by State of Residents: Fiscal Year 2009 to 2011, Page 3, Table 2
Profiles on Naturalized Citizens: 2011, State of Residence
Refugee Arrivals for FY 2012 by State and Country of Origin
 
 
Additional Resources
 
Government
 
US Census Bureau
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Office of Refugee Resettlement
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of State
 
 
Research Institutions
 
Migration Policy Institute
 
Pew Research Hispanic Center
 
Prepared by
Ann Morse and Jiashan Cui
NCSL’s Immigrant Policy Project
February 2013
 
 
 
[12] Author’s analysis of American Community Survey, 2011.
[13] Steven Ruggles, J. Trent Alexander, Katie Genadek, Ronald Goeken, Matthew B. Schroeder, and Matthew Sobek. Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: Version 5.0 [Machine-readable database]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2010.
 
 
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