Growth in immigration flows in the past three decades has almost tripled the size of the foreign-born population in the United States: from 14 million in 1980 to 38 million in 2007. Immigrants are still heavily concentrated in the six traditional immigrant destination states (California, New York, Texas, Florida, Illinois, and New Jersey), but immigrant numbers grew rapidly in many western, midwestern, and southeastern states. Not surprisingly, many metropolitan areas outside the traditional destination states saw high immigration growth. This brief examines immigration and poverty trends between 1980 and 2007 across the 100 metropolitan areas with the largest immigrant populations.
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Growth in immigration flows in the past three decades
has almost tripled the size of the foreign-born population
in the United States. Between 1980 and 2007, the
number of immigrants increased from 14 million to 38 million.
1 The rate of growth was fastest in the 1990s, when
immigrants increased from 20 million in 1990 to 31 million
by 2000. Their numbers continued to increase steadily during
the 2000s and reached 38 million in 2007.
The foreign-born share of the population has grown as
well. In 1980, immigrants represented just 6 percent of the
U.S. population (just above the historic low of 4.7 percent
set in 1970). By 2007, the foreign-born share had climbed
to 13 percent of the population of the United States, a level
not seen since 1920.
Immigrants are still heavily concentrated in the six traditional
immigrant destination states (California, New York,
Texas, Florida, Illinois, and New Jersey); 66 percent of all
immigrants lived there in 2007. However, the share in these
states has fallen from 73 percent in 1990 as immigrant populations
grow rapidly in many western, midwestern, and
southeastern states. The spread is notable in many states that
have not had large foreign-born populations historically. In
North Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, South Carolina, and
Tennessee, where immigrants constituted 3 percent or less of
the population in 1990, the foreign-born increased threefold
or more between 1990 and 2007. While the immigrant
population in the United States doubled during this time,
some of these newer high-growth immigration states, such
as North Carolina and Georgia, have seen fivefold increases
in their foreign-born populations.2
Not surprisingly, many metropolitan areas outside the
traditional immigrant destination states saw high growth in
the size of their foreign-born populations. But even in these
newer high-growth states, much of this growth was concentrated
in the larger metropolitan areas, as was the case in the
traditional immigrant destination states.
This data brief examines immigration trends between
1980 and 2007 across the 100 metropolitan areas with the
largest immigrant populations, including the growth, concentration,
and dispersion of the foreign-born population.3
In addition to the trends in the foreign-born population, the
brief examines trends in the population of native-born children
with immigrant parents.
End of excerpt. The entire brief, with footnotes and tables is available in PDF format.
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