Last 5 Years Highest Immigration in History

Via Center for Immigration Studies

Report: 7.9 Million Immigrants Settled Since 2000, Nearly Half Illegal

WASHINGTON (December 12, 2005) — With the nation poised to debate fundamental changes to its immigration system, an analysis of new Census Bureau data shows that nearly 8 million immigrants (legal and illegal) have settled in the country since January 2000, nearly half of them illegal aliens. In addition, the report provides a detailed picture of the socio-economic status of today’s immigrants.

The report, “Immigrants at Mid-Decade: A Snapshot of America’s Foreign-Born Population in 2005,” is online at Among the findings:

• Between January 2000 and March 2005, 7.9 million new immigrants (legal and illegal) settled in the country, making it the highest five-year period of immigration in American history.

• Nearly half of post-2000 arrivals (3.7 million) are estimated to be illegal aliens.

• The 35.2 million immigrants (legal and illegal) here in March of 2005 is the highest ever recorded — two and a half times the 13.5 million during the peak of the last great immigration wave in 1910.

• Immigrants account for 12.1 percent of the total population, the highest percentage in 8 decades. If current trends continue, within a decade it will surpass the high of 14.7 percent reached in 1910.

• States with the largest increase in immigrants are, in descending order, California, Texas, Georgia, New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina, Washington, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Arizona, Tennessee, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Mississippi.

• The poverty rate of immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18) is 18.4 percent, 57 percent higher than the 11.7 percent for natives and their children. Immigrants and their children account for almost one in four persons in poverty.

One third of immigrants lack health insurance — two-and-one-half times the rate for natives. Immigrants and their U.S.-born children account for 30 percent of the uninsured.

• Immigrants make significant economic progress the longer they live in the United States, but even immigrants who have lived here for 15 years still have dramatically higher rates of poverty, lack of health insurance, and welfare use than natives.

• A central question for immigration policy is: Should we allow in so many people with little education, which increases job competition for the poorest American workers and the size of the population needing government assistance?

Well, should we?

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