June 3, 2019

Facts on U.S. Immigrants, 2017

Statistical portrait of the foreign-born population in the United States

Characteristics of the U.S. foreign-born population: 1960-2017

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There were a record 44.4 million immigrants living in the U.S. in 2017, making up 13.6% of the nation’s population. This represents a more than fourfold increase since 1960, when only 9.7 million immigrants lived in the U.S., accounting for just 5.4% of the total U.S. population. Click the link below each summary table to download the data.

To find more context on the figures below, visit the blog posts “Key findings about U.S. immigrants” and “Recently arrived U.S. immigrants, growing in number, differ from long-term residents,” and for a downloadable version of the tables below, see the PDF and the Excel workbook. For facts on Latinos in the United States, see our profile on U.S. Hispanics.

Nativity of U.S. immigrants

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2017
Foreign-born population total 9,729,147 9,744,833 14,079,460 19,682,004 31,133,481 39,916,875 44,406,371
Percent born in Mexico 6.0% 8.1% 15.6% 21.7% 29.4% 29.4% 25.3%
Percent who are citizens N/A 63.7% 50.4% 40.5% 40.3% 43.7% 49.4%

Download Excel sheet with all population and nativity findings

 

Race of U.S. immigrants

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2017
Percent who are white alone, not Hispanic N/A N/A 49.3% 31.2% 22.0% 18.7% 17.8%

Download Excel sheet with all race findings

 

Language use among U.S. immigrants

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2017
Percent speaking English at least very well (ages 5 and older) N/A N/A 57.2% 53.0% 49.0% 48.4% 52.2%

Download Excel sheet with all language findings

 

Age and gender of U.S. immigrants

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2017
Median age (in years) 57 50 39 37 37 41 44
Percent who are female 51.1% 54.1% 53.4% 51.1% 50.2% 51.0% 51.7%

Download Excel sheet with all age and gender findings

 

Marital status and fertility of U.S. immigrants

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2017
Percent who are married (ages 18 and older) 68.4% 67.0% 64.1% 61.9% 62.8% 60.0% 60.9%
Percent who are women ages 15-44 giving birth in past year N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 8.5% 7.5%

Download Excel sheet with all marriage and fertility findings

 

Education of U.S. immigrants

Highest degree completed, ages 25 and older

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2017
High school or less 88.9% 82.4% 70.1% 60.9% 57.4% 54.2% 50.0%
Two-year degree/some college 6.0% 8.7% 14.1% 18.8% 18.5% 18.8% 18.8%
Bachelor’s degree or more 5.1% 9.0% 15.8% 20.3% 24.1% 27.1% 31.2%

Download Excel sheet with all education findings

 

Work status and occupations of U.S. immigrants

Ages 16 and older

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2017
Percent in labor force (among civilian population) 47.5% 48.3% 55.4% 64.2% 60.5% 67.7% 66.0%

Download Excel sheet with all work findings

 

Earnings and income of U.S. immigrants

Ages 16 and older

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2017
Median annual personal earnings
(in 2017 dollars, among those with earnings)
N/A N/A N/A $26,362 $27,526 $26,061 $30,000
Median annual household income (in 2017 dollars) N/A N/A $39,432 $49,209 $53,778 $49,624 $56,000

Download Excel sheet with all income findings

 

Poverty among U.S. immigrants

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2017
Percent living in poverty 19.1% 14.6% 15.2% 17.8% 17.7% 18.7% 15.2%

Download Excel sheet with all poverty findings

 

Homeownership and households of U.S. immigrants

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2017
Percent in family households 88.0% 86.5% 85.9% 87.4% 87.9% 87.0% 73.1%

Download Excel sheet with all homeownership and household findings

 

Region and top states of residence of U.S. immigrants

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2017
West 19.8% 24.0% 32.4% 39.6% 37.9% 35.4% 34.0%
California 13.7% 18.0% 25.4% 32.7% 28.5% 25.4% 23.9%
South 9.9% 14.5% 20.6% 23.2% 27.7% 31.9% 33.5%
Texas 3.2% 3.6% 6.1% 7.7% 9.3% 10.4% 10.9%
Florida 2.7% 5.5% 7.5% 8.4% 8.6% 9.2% 9.8%
Northeast 47.0% 42.1% 32.0% 26.5% 23.2% 21.5% 21.3%
New York 23.5% 21.5% 17.0% 14.4% 12.4% 10.8% 10.2%
New Jersey 6.4% 6.5% 5.4% 4.9% 4.7% 4.6% 4.6%
Midwest 23.3% 19.5% 15.0% 10.8% 11.3% 11.1% 11.3%

Download Excel sheet with all region findings

 

Source: Source: Pew Research Center tabulations of 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000 censuses and 2010 and 2017 American Community Surveys (IPUMS). Total foreign-born population estimates for 1960-2000 shown here may differ from other reported estimates since they are based on IPUMS data files (1% samples in 1960 and 1970 and 5% samples in 1980, 1990 and 2000) and are not based on U.S. Census Bureau population estimates.
“Statistical Portrait of the Foreign-Born Population in the United States, 1960-2017”