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October 2011, Volume 18, Number 4

Immigration, Population

The US had 40 million foreign-born residents in 2010, including 14 million new legal and unauthorized settlers who arrived since 2000; foreign-born residents were 13 percent of the US population. Some foreign-born US residents died and others left the US, so the foreign-born population rose by nine million in the past decade, from 31 million in 2000.

The number of foreign-born residents, less than 10 million, and their share of US residents, less than five percent, were at their lowest point in 1970. The share of foreign-born residents was highest in 1910, when almost 15 percent of US residents were foreign-born.

About two-thirds of foreign-born US residents live in six states, including California (10.2 million), New York (4.3 million), and Texas (4.1 million). The fastest growth in the immigrant population has been in southeastern states such as Alabama and South Carolina, where the number of foreign-born residents almost doubled between 2000 and 2010.

About 30 percent of foreign-born US residents were born in Mexico, almost 12 million. There were over a million foreign-born US residents from eight countries, including China (2.2 million), India and the Philippines (1.8 million each), Vietnam and El Salvador (1.2 million each), and Cuba and Korea (1.1 million each).

The Pew Hispanic Center reported that two-thirds of the 48 million US Hispanics are Mexican born or of Mexican ancestry, followed by nine percent Puerto Ricans and four percent each for Salvadorans and Cubans. Pew estimated that 4.2 million Mexicans settled in the US between 2000 and 2010, and that 7.2 million babies were born in the US to Mexican-Americans. Between 1990 and 2000, 4.7 million Mexicans migrated to the US and Mexican-Americans had 4.7 million US-born babies.

Camorata, Steven. 2011. A Record-Setting Decade of Immigration: 2000-2010.