How to find data on immigrants in your area fast

Follow these steps to find a ton of information quickly, in a few minutes. I am using Vermont as an example, because I live there.

Step One: Go to the Census Bureau’s American Fact Finder website

You can enter in zip code, city/town, county and state designations. The sources of data are listed here. I chose “Vermont.”

Enter your desired location, and on next page choose “Origins and Language.” Then, chose among options “selected characteristics of the native and foreign born population.”

The tables on this site can be copied and pasted into an Excel sheet.

I find that among native-born Americans, 33% are 18 thru 44, but for non-naturalized foreign born, 54% are. A third (34%) of non-naturalized foreigners do not speak English “very well,” and 17% of naturalized foreign-born do not speak English “very well.” This suggests a total population of 6,400 potential students of English. Half the Asian speaking people do not speak English “very well.”

Compared to native born, these non-naturalized foreign-born are very over-represented in agriculture (which means dairy in Vermont) and lodging, and very under-represented in construction, finance and public administration. They are much more likely to be employed, and about as likely to be on food stamps/SNAP. And they are much more likely to earn below 100% of the poverty level.

The Migration Policy Institute’s State Immigration Data Profiles have less data but is easier to read.

Step Two: Go to the American Immigration Council

Type in the name of the desired area in “Search.” Then select from number of options the one saying “state fact sheets,” then pick among state fact sheet options. The Council’s fact sheets compress a lot of information into its state-specific “New Americans” sheets.

Foreign-born workers in U.S to rise from 16% to 20% of workforce


But will take 26 years….growing for the next 15 years, then the pace slows down a lot.

Per the Census Bureau, the total population of the U.S. is expected to grow from about 319M in 2014 to 359M in 2030 and 380 in 2040, an increase of 19% over the space of 26 years – pretty slow. The working age population (15 through 64) will grow by 12%, even slower.

Foreign-born residents have a higher rate of job participation. That’s likely because they come immigrate often for work. They are more concentrated in working age brackets (80% between 18 and 64, vs. 62% native born – see here and here).

This means that even modest increases in the foreign born population will result in higher shares of employment for these workers.

In 2014, foreign-born persons accounted for 13% of the general population, 15% of persons between 15 and 64 years old, and 16% of the workforce. (That’s 24 million foreign born workers.) In 2030, the Census Bureau projects they will account for about 16% of the population, which implies that foreign workers will then account for 19% of the workforce. By 2040, per the Census Bureau, the foreign born share of the total population will be about 17%, a moderation in the rate of growth. They will be one fifth of the workforce.

“Bring Back the Melting Pot” ideal, Michael Lind writes

Discussing cultural diversity in immigration is very difficult, which is why I find an article published on July 4 so refreshing, even if I may not agree with it entirely.

Michael Lind, author and founder of New America, a public policy think tank, wrote on July 4 an article in Politico, How To Fix America’s Identity Crisis. It’s a stimulating exploration of the problematic history of diversity in America.

He says that until 1965 U.S. immigration policy was largely accepting of only Europeans – persons who call themselves “white.” The first naturalization act in 1790 limited citizenship to immigrants who were “free white persons.”

Politics during the big immigration wave before and after 1990 was severely affected by nationality conflicts. I grew up in the 1950s with the waning of these enmities. Between the Civil War and the 1960s, American immigration policy has been one of bringing in workers without imperiling white supremacy (and that persisted with Latino immigration through today).

In a 1921 article for Good Housekeeping magazine, Vice President Calvin Coolidge warned against intermarriage among northern European “Nordics” and others: “Quality of mind and body suggests that observance of ethnic law is as great a necessity to a nation as immigration law.” In 1924 the Johnson-Reed Act codified this policy, at the expense of Slavs, Jews, Italians and others.

The United States responded to the Cold War by passing in 1965 the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, a.k.a. the Hart-Celler Act. After that, non European immigration took off. But, as Lind writes, “no broadly shared vision of a common American community has taken hold to replace the older white nationalism in the U.S.—one that can encompass people of all races and backgrounds and that reflects the country’s ever-growing diversity.”

The nation is riven between white nativism and multiculturalism among the political left, which sees distinct national cultures. “In both cases, ancestry, race and ethnicity are seen as more important than a common American identity.”

Lind says we are trapped in a regressive formal classification of “races” in the U.S. Census: African-Americans, non-Hispanic whites, Latinos (or Hispanics), native Americans and Asian and Pacific Islanders. “These categories were settled upon by the federal government in the 1970s, and all except African-American, with its historical basis in America’s white supremacist caste system, are arbitrary to the point of absurdity.”

We need, Lind says, to bring back the concept of the “melting pot,” as presented by John Dewey, who referred to himself as “Pole-German-English-French-Spanish-Italian-Greek-Irish-Scandinavian-Bohemian-Jew—and so on.”

Stop promoting “assimilation,” which has always meant assimilation into white identity, and promote “amalgamation,” he says.

Remove the racial categories of the Census, base affirmation action on categories other than race to help the disadvantaged, Lind says.

Early talk about immigration reform in 2017

Politico today published an article about prospects for a reform package in 2017.

On June 27, 2013 the Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S.744). The House ignored it. The 2013 bill, analyzed here, was the product of the Gang of Eight – four Republicans (Flake, Graham, McCain, and Rubio) and four Democrats (Bennet, Durbin, Menendez, and Schumer).

Key parts of the bill include a lengthy process for undocumented persons to qualify for green cards; beefed up Mexican border security with standards on performance; and a new “W” visa for non-agricultural temporary workers.

Hillary Clinton has already said that she will bring up immigration reform in her first 100 days in office.

Senator Graham, a gang of eight member, is ready for reform. Politico quoted Graham: “I’m going to take the Gang of Eight bill out, dust it off and ask anybody and everybody who wants to work with me to make it better to do so.”

Senator Schumer, per Politico: “Poised to become majority leader if Democrats take the Senate this year. And the New York senator already said immigration reform would be a top priority, most recently in an interview last week.”

Senator Flake: “The hour [when] we can move it, we’ve got to move it,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), another member of the Gang of Eight, which formed after the 2012 election. “If they don’t [understand the urgency], we’ll do another autopsy after the next election and we’ll determine we’ve got to do it.”

Senator Rubio: “I don’t believe that a comprehensive approach can pass, nor do I believe at this point, given everything that’s transpired, that it’s the right way forward,” said Rubio, who recently announced he would run for reelection. That was a position he stressed repeatedly during his presidential bid when the conservative base accused him of backing “amnesty.”

Senator Menendez: “He is “certainly open” to reviving the dormant group. But he argued against piecemeal reform, saying it quickly would become untenable. For instance, if Congress begins to move on more visas for Silicon Valley, the seafood industry will want foreign workers, he said. Then the broader agricultural sector will demand its own reforms, which will spur advocates for push harder for those living here without papers.”

Proflle of permanent resident visas (green cards) in 2014

The pace and distribution have been stable in 2012, 2013 and 2014. These rounded figures. Note that employment based green cards average 150,000, a fraction of 635,000 that are working age (25 – 64). Source: Homeland Security.

Total green cards awarded: 1 million

New arrivals: 47%
Status adjustment to green card: 53%

Of which —-
family sponsored: 200,000
Immediate relative: 425,000 (of which spouses 250,000)
employment based: 150,000
refugees and asylees: 125,000
other categories: 100,000


Mexico: 135,000
India: 70,000
China: 75,000
Philippines: 55,000
other countries: 665,000
(the highest European country is UK at 12,000)


California: 200,000
New York: 135,000
Florida: 100,000
Texas: 100,000
Other states: 465,000


Childhood thru end of education (0 – 24) : 315,000 (32%)
25 – 64 (working age): 635,000 (64%)
65 plus: 50,000 (5%)

Median age: 32 vs. 37 for total American population

The Immigration Film Festival in D.C. Oct 20 – 23

The Immigration Film Festival (IFF), the only such festival east of California, returns to the DC area to showcase a wide variety of subjects focused on the global tidal wave of displaced people. Many voices and perspectives are portrayed through dramatic features, documentaries and shorts. Following the screenings, panels and programs with filmmakers, researchers, advocates and policy makers explore the issues encouraging audience feedback.

The Festival was conceived in 2013. the 2014 debut screened 13 films and the 2015 festival showed 15, in venues in the DC area.

Full schedule and program will be announced in early August.  the four day festival will use multiple venues in downtown DC and beyond. Go here for more information.