Skip to navigation

Skip to main content


Record 44 million immigrants in 2016

December 20, 2018

The US had a record 44 million immigrants in 2016, according to tables released by Pew in September 2018, making them almost 14 percent of US residents. In 1970, there were fewer than 10 million immigrants, and they were less than five percent of US residents.

Since 1970, the major source of immigrants has changed from Europe to Mexico and Latin America. A quarter of US immigrants in 2016 were born in Mexico, another quarter in other Latin American countries, and a quarter in Asia.

The major source of immigrants has changed from Europe to Latin America

Source: Pew Research Center: Origins of the U.S. immigrant population, 1960-2016

A quarter of immigrants, 11 million, are not authorized to be in the US. The number of unauthorized migrants peaked at 12.2 million in 2007 and has since fallen by over a million.

A quarter of immigrants, almost 11 million, are unauthorized

Line chart showing that U.S. unauthorized immigrant total rises, then falls.

The number of unauthorized workers has been more stable at about eight million, suggesting that unauthorized foreigners with jobs were less likely to leave the US.

The number of unauthorized workers fell less than the number of unauthorized foreigners

Line charts showing that the number of unauthorized immigrants in U.S. workforce ticks down and that unauthorized immigrants decline as a share of the U.S. labor force.

Passel, Jeffrey and D’Vera Cohn. 2018. U.S. Unauthorized Immigrant Total Dips to Lowest Level in a Decade. Pew.

Pew. 2018. Facts on U.S. Immigrants, 2016.