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October 2010, Volume 16, Number 4

Unauthorized Foreigners, 2000-2009 (mils)

The number of unauthorized foreigners in the US increased by almost four million between 2000 and 2007, that is, by over 500,000 a year. Since peaking at 12 million in 2007, the estimated number of unauthorized foreigners fell to 11 million in 2009. There were fewer new entries during the 2008-09 as a result of recession and tougher border enforcement.

About two-thirds of the unauthorized are believed to be in the labor force. The falling stock of unauthorized has so far not led to complaints of labor shortages in agriculture and other sectors believed to hire newcomers who are unauthorized.

Unauthorized Foreigners, 2000-2009 (mils)

Notes: Bars indicate low and high points of the estimated 90 % confidence interval. The symbol * indicates the change from the previous year is statistically significant.

Source: Pew Hispanic Center estimates based on residual methodology applied to March Supplements to the Current Population Survey.