The demographic shifts within the immigrant population

The foreign-born population in the United States has been pretty stable in total numbers (about 45 million) and percent of total (13.7%) in recent years, but there have been important shifts within this population which deepen their integration into American society. Here are just three of numerous trends.

First, immigrants are more likely to be naturalized. In the past two years, the non-citizen share of immigrants has gone down by an annual average of about 400,000, which the naturalized share has risen be an annual average of about 600,000.(Go here).

Second, education attainment of recent immigrants has increased. This is in large part due to the relative rise of Asian immigrants. Between 2010 and 2019, foreign-born persons with Asian origins increased by 2.8 million, compared with just 1.3 million from Latin America. As William Frey of Brookings writes, “In terms of educational attainment, the greatest 2010 to 2019 growth was registered by foreign-born persons with bachelor’s degrees or professional and graduate degrees. When looking at the net gains of 2010 to 2019 foreign-born adults (age 25 and older), nearly two-thirds were college graduates, compared to one-third of the native-born population. This counters long-held stereotypes promoted by the Trump administration.”

Third, the tenure of unauthorized persons has been significantly lengthening in the 15 years. In 2005, 38% of unauthorized persons had been in the country for at least 10 years. In 2016, that was 66%. In 2016, eight-in-ten had lived in the U.S. for more than 10 years. In fact, the typical unauthorized Mexican immigrant adult has lived in the U.S. for nearly 17 years. (Go here.)

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