What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• Jynnah Radford shares key facts and figures related to immigration to the U.S. based on 2017 data, the most recent available.
• How can these data points help to undercut myths about immigrants? How can funders use this information to make decisions about funding for immigrants?
• Learn about philanthropic strategies to support refugees and asylum seekers.
The United States has more immigrants than any other country in the world. Today, more than 40 million people living in the U.S. were born in another country, accounting for about one-fifth of the world’s migrants in 2017. The population of immigrants is also very diverse, with just about every country in the world represented among U.S. immigrants.
Pew Research Center regularly publishes statistical portraits of the nation’s foreign-born population, which include historical trends since 1960. Based on these portraits, here are answers to some key questions about the U.S. immigrant population.
How many people in the U.S. are immigrants?
The U.S. foreign-born population reached a record 44.4 million in 2017.
What is the legal status of immigrants in the U.S.?
Most immigrants (77%) are in the country legally, while almost a quarter are unauthorized, according to new Pew Research Center estimates based on census data adjusted for undercount. In 2017, 45% were naturalized U.S. citizens.
Do all lawful immigrants choose to become U.S. citizens?
Not all lawful permanent residents choose to pursue U.S. citizenship. Those who wish to do so may apply after meeting certain requirements, including having lived in the U.S. for five years. In fiscal year 2018, about 800,000 immigrants applied for naturalization. The number of naturalization applications has climbed in recent years, though the annual totals remain below the 1.4 million applications filed in 2007.
Where do immigrants come from?
Mexico is the top origin country of the U.S. immigrant population. In 2017, 11.2 million immigrants living in the U.S. were from there, accounting for 25% of all U.S. immigrants. The next largest origin groups were those from China (6%), India (6%), the Philippines (5%) and El Salvador (3%).
Read the full article about U.S. immigrants by Jynnah Radford at Pew Research Center.