Snapshot of U.S. Immigration 2016

2/24/2016

Photo of passport and Social Security cardThis brief provides demographic information for the foreign-born in the United States, including permanent and temporary legal admissions, refugees, and unauthorized migrants, using the most recent data available

The brief also includes additional resources for demographic data of the foreign-born at the national and state level.

U.S. Population Summary

Total U.S. population

319 million

Total foreign-born population

42 million

% Foreign Born

13%

                       

Foreign-Born Population

  • Naturalized Citizens             18 million
  • Legal Noncitizens                 13 million
  • Unauthorized immigrants      11 million

Main Source Countries/Regions

As of 2013, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, Mexico was the single largest source country (28%) followed by South or East Asia at 26%. Other regions accounting for significant shares were the Caribbean, at about 10%, Central America (8%), South America (7%), the Middle East (4%) and sub-Saharan Africa (4%). 

Permanent Residence | People Approved

In 2013, 990,553 visas were issued for permanent residence

 

Family & immediate Relatives

649,763             

65.6%

Employment     

161,110             

16.3%

Refugees and Asylees

119,630             

12.1%

Diversity (underrepresented countries) 

45,618 

4.6%

 

Of the 990,553 permanent visas

Of the 990,553 permanent visas

530,802 adjustments were within the United States

53.6%

459,751 were new arrivals

46.4%

 

 

Main source of legal immigrants by country and year

 

2011

2012

2013

 

Mexico   13.5%

Mexico   14.2%

Mexico           13.6%

 

China       8.2%

China        7.9%

China                7.2%

 

India         6.5%

India         6.4%

India                 6.9%

Total

1,062,040

1,031,631

990,553

 

Temporary Visas | Nonimmigrant

Temporary visas are issued to business visitors and tourists, students, temporary workers and representatives of foreign governments or international organizations.  In 2014, the U.S. Department of State issued approximately 9.9 million nonimmigrant visas. About 65 percent of the issuances are temporary visitors for business and for pleasure. China is the leading country for temporary visa issuances (1,8 million), followed by Mexico, Brazil, India and Colombia.

Refugee | Humanitarian

In 2013, 69,909 refugees were admitted to the U.S. The main countries of origin were: Iraq 27.9 percent, Burma 23.3 percent, Bhutan 13.1 percent, Somalia 10.9 percent, and Cuba 6 percent. The ceiling for admissions was 70,000.

In 2013, 25,199 individuals were granted asylum. The main countries of origin were: China 34 percent, Egypt 13.5 percent, Ethiopia 3.5 percent, Nepal 3.4 percent and Syria 3.2 percent.

Refugee main countries of origin

 

2011

2012

2013

 

Burma    30.1%

Bhutan    25.9%

Iraq         27.9%

 

Bhutan    26.6%

Burma     24.3%

Burma    23.3%

 

Iraq         16.7%

Iraq         20.9%

Bhutan    13.1%

 

Somalia    5.6%

Somalia    8.4%

Somalia   10.9%

Total

56,384

58,179

69,909

 

:

Asylee main countries of origin

 

2011

2012

2013

 

China           34.4%

China      34.5%

China       34.1%

 

Venezuela      4.4%

Egypt        9.8%

Egypt       13.5%

 

Ethiopia          4.3%

Ethiopia    3.8%

Ethiopia     3.5%

 

Egypt              4.1%

Nepal        3.3%

Nepal         3.4%

Total

24,988

29,367

25,199

 

Refugees must 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 2012, approximately 11 million unauthorized were estimated to be residing in the United States. Approximately, three-fourths of unauthorized immigrants were from North America (Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America), with most immigrants coming from Mexico (about 59 percent, 6.7 million). Roughly 85 percent of unauthorized immigrants fell into age groups below 44 years (61 percent were ages 25 to 44).

Additional Resources

Government

Research Institutions

Prepared by Ann Morse and Veronica Ibarra, NCSL Spring Fellow 2016