Foreign Born Population

The by US Census Bureau has reported that the US population of foreign-born residents has reached the highest level since 1910. According to the agency, there are 40 million people in the US who were not born in the US. This number includes immigrants in the US as well as foreign-born US citizens who have gone through the naturalization process to acquire US citizenship.

The latest numbers are from the 2010 American Community Survey and show that about 13% of the total US population of approximately 312 million individuals was not born in the US. The last time the number of foreign-born individuals in the US surpassed this figure was in 1910, when people born outside the US comprised about 14.7% of the US population.

The majority of non-US-born individuals in the US come from Latin America, according to Elizabeth M. Grieco, the Chief of the US Census Bureau. This is despite the fact that in recent years the number of immigrants coming from Mexico has flat lined.

While the number of foreign-born people in the US may be higher than in years past, there is also evidence that there is better integration. About half of US residents born outside the US either spoke English “very well” or spoke primarily English at home. For those residents born in Africa, 71% either spoke English very well or spoke only English at home. For those residents born in Latin America, 37% spoke English at home or were considered to speak English very well.

According to the latest statistics, immigrants are also very hard-working. In 2010, 68% of foreign-born individuals over the age of 14 were employed, compared with 64% of US-born individuals. That same year, 79% of foreign-born men and 57% of foreign-born women were in the workforce, compared to 68% of US-born men and 60% of US-born women.

States such as New York, Texas, and California have traditionally attracted the largest numbers of immigrants, and are in fact considered gateway states. However, in recent years many immigrants have been migrating to the Dakotas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Wyoming, states with traditionally smaller foreign-born populations.