US immigration trends

The population of the USA has grown by an average of 1% per year for the last twenty years., or about 3 million persons per year. A growth rate of 1% per year means that it would take approximately 100 years for the population to double. For comparison the global population grew about 400% from 1.5 billion to 4 billion from 1900 to 2000. It seems reasonable to say that 1% population growth should not be considered rapid or extreme.

According to the Pobulation Research Bureau(1),

“Between 1990 and 2010, the number of foreign-born U.S. residents almost doubled from 20 million to 40 million, while the U.S. population rose from almost 250 million to 310 million. Thus, immigration directly contributed one-third of U.S. population growth and, with the U.S.-born children and grandchildren of immigrants, immigration contributed half of U.S. population growth.”

The following table(also from the PRB) breaks down immigration to the US in more detail:

Entries In and Out of the United States, 2005-2009

Category 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Legal Immigrants 1,122,373 1,266,129 1,052,415 1,107,126 1,130,818
Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens 436,231 580,348 494,920 488,483 535,554
Other family-sponsored immigrants 212,970 222,229 194,900 227,761 211,859
Employment-based 246,878 159,081 162,176 166,511 144,034
Refugees and asylees 150,677 216,454 136,125 166,392 177,368
Diversity and other immigrants 75,617 88,017 64,294 57,979 62,003
Estimated emigration -312,000 -316,000 -320,000 -324,000 -328,000
Legal Temporary Migrants 32,003,435 33,667,328 37,149,651 39,381,925 36,231,554
Pleasure/business 28,510,374 29,928,567 32,905,061 35,045,836 32,190,915
Foreign students (F-1) 621,178 693,805 787,756 859,169 895,392
Temporary foreign workers 882,957 985,456 1,118,138 1,101,938 936,272
Illegal Immigration: Apprehensions 1,291,142 1,206,457 960,756 791,568
Removals or deportations 246,431 280,974 319,382 358,886
Change in unauthorized foreigners 572,000 572,000 572,000 -650,000

We see that legal immigration to the US contributes at most 0.3% population growth on average.  Adding illegal immigration to this would put the total contribution of immigration to population growth at about 0.5% a year on average.

The following chart (created by the PRB) shows the annual number of legal U.S. immigrants by decade over the last fifty years:

If legal immigration were to continue at a rate of about one million persons per year,  it would begin to shrink as a factor in total population growth.

Notes:

Population Research Bureau, Immigration in America 2010 http://prb.org/Publications/PopulationBulletins/2010/immigrationupdate1.aspx

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1 Comment »

  1. Latin America has the huge % on the graph. What country if this from? Mexico?

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