Foreign-Born Population Explodes To All-Time High

August 13, 2015

Submitted by: Veronica Coffin

Written by By Rachel Stoltzfoos

The U.S. foreign-born population just hit an all time high of 42.1 million, new Census Bureau data shows, helped along by a rebounding Mexican immigrant population.

In the past year, 1.7 million legal and illegal immigrants joined U.S. ranks, and that foreign-born population is now 13 percent of the U.S. population — the largest share in more than a hundred years — a Center for Immigration Studies analysis of monthly Census data shows.

CIS advocates for reduced immigration in the U.S.

The Mexican immigrant population grew by 740,000 over that same period, and hit 12.1 million in the second quarter of 2015, which is the highest quarterly total ever. The surge accounts for 44 percent of the total immigrant population increase, and puts to rest a recent understanding there is zero net migration from Mexico.

That surge accounts for 44 percent of the total immigrant population increase, and indicates the number of people coming from Mexico versus leaving for Mexico is no longer zero.

The Latin American population also grew in the last year, increasing by 449,000.

“The rapid growth in the immigrant population was foreseeable given the cutbacks in enforcement, our expansive legal immigration system, and the improvement in the economy,” report co-author Steven Camarota said in a statement Thursday. “But the question remains, is it in the nation’s interest?”

Since 1970, the foreign-born population has increased by more than 325 percent, while wages and share of income fell. 


Chart From Congressional Research Service Report


(Congressional Research Service)

Wages remain fairly stagnant, and record numbers of Americans are not in the workforce. In July, 93.8 million people in the U.S. ages 16 and older were not employed or looking for work, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

“If new, much lower, immigration quotas are not put into place, two outcomes are certain,” a GOP congressional aide told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “One, conservative activism will be a way to make money but not a governing power and two, the country will be very, very poor.”

By 2023 the foreign-born population will exceed 51 million — the largest share of total population ever recorded in American history — the Census Bureau recently projected.

Nearly one in five U.S. residents will be an immigrant by 2060, largely because of legal immigration, not illegal immigration, a previous Center for Immigration Studies analysis of the Census data found. And immigrants will account for 82 percent of population growth in the U.S. from 2010 through 2060.

If federal law is not changed, the U.S. is on track to issue 10 million green cards over the next decade— a massive new permanent resident bloc larger than the combined populations of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

(Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest)


(Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest)

Polls consistently show that more Americans than not — across party and demographic lines — are concerned about legal immigration. For example, 45 percent of Americans said the number of immigrants legally allowed to enter the country should be reduced in an August, 2014, Reuters poll. Just 17 percent said more legal immigrants should be allowed to come into the country.

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