immigration

A Statistical Portrait of Immigration Unlike TV Reports

News coverage of the US-Mexican border fails to reveal the extent and benefits of immigration to America that has surged since passage in 1965 of the last significant immigration bill. Pew Research has produced a revealing picture that indicates immigrants have always been part of the American portrait.

News coverage of the US-Mexican border fails to reveal the extent and benefits of immigration to America that has surged since passage in 1965 of the last significant immigration bill. Pew Research has produced a revealing picture that indicates immigrants have always been part of the American portrait.

If you watch the nightly news, you might think the few thousand migrants from Central America trying to enter the United States to seek asylum would tip the balance in the American population. A statistical portrait of the foreign-born population in America suggests otherwise.

The Pew Research Center has an online tutorial on US immigration to help Americans better recognize their immigrant neighbors who are already here, many of whom for more than a decade. Pew estimates there were 43.7 million immigrants in the United States in 2016, which is more than any other country in the world.

Contrary to impressions left by news stories of migrant caravans, Pew says three-fourths of the US immigrant population is here legally as naturalized citizens, permanent residents, green card holders or people with temporary visas to attend college or other purposes.

The rate of immigration into the United States has shot up since passage in 1965 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act. The foreign-born population since then has quadrupled. The legislation was passed in recognition that immigrants would be needed to make up for relatively low US birthrates.

The most noticeable and consequential change in US immigration patterns since 1960 has been the decline of European and Canadian immigrants and a sharp increase in immigrants from Mexico, Latin America and Asia. For example, Asians represented just 4 percent of all immigrants in 1960. In 2016, they accounted for 27 percent. Statistics for Mexican immigration are similar, rising from 6 percent in 1960 to 28 percent in 2016.

While Pew doesn’t say it, more immigrants of color, with different cultural and religious traditions, has contributed to heightened awareness of and in some cases hostility toward immigrants, a factor that played a significant role of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.

Pew Research Center has developed an informative resource that describes immigrants in America – who they are, how long they have been here, how they are faring and where they live. It’s a fascinating set of statistics that shows immigration is a lot more complicated and significant than skirmishes at the US-Mexican border.

Pew Research Center has developed an informative resource that describes immigrants in America – who they are, how long they have been here, how they are faring and where they live. It’s a fascinating set of statistics that shows immigration is a lot more complicated and significant than skirmishes at the US-Mexican border.

Pew notes that 75 percent of foreign-born immigrants have lived in the United States for more than 10 years. Immigrants account for almost 14 percent of US population, while second-generation, US-born children constitute another 12 percent.

Trump’s attention glued to the US-Mexican border overlooks that Asian immigrants now outnumber Hispanic immigrants, according to Pew. The estimated number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States has dropped slightly from a high of 12.2 percent in 2007 to 11.3 percent in 2016. Unauthorized immigrants have been relatively constant since around 2000. Some 11.6 million US immigrants were born in Mexico, which eclipses the next highest birth countries, China (2.7 million) and India (2.4 million)

Another noteworthy statistic is that more than 15 percent of immigrants 25 years or older have earned bachelor’s degrees and another 12 percent hold post-graduate degrees.

In 1960, male and female immigrants were roughly equal and tended to be older (55-74). In 2016, immigrants remained roughly equal by sex, but were significantly younger (30-54). Mexican immigrants were the youngest with a median age of 42.

Second-generation children of immigrants in 2016 were largely younger, from ages 0-19. More than 50 years later, second-generation children are more evenly balanced from ages 0-69.

There is a huge geographical disparity as to where immigrants live. Almost 35 percent live in the Western United States, while 33 percent live in the South. California, Texas and New York are home to 46 percent of immigrants. Sixty percent of immigrants live in just 20 US metropolitan areas.   

What disquiets some Americans are projections that people of color will overtake Caucasians as the majority population by the middle of this century. Some anti-immigrant groups warn of rising crime, but official data indicates first-generation immigrants have lower crime rates and are more likely to be married than the average US population

Poll Confirms Voter Interest Surging for Midterm Election

Democrats predict a blue wave and Republicans sense a surge in support after the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation. They both could be right and the nation could be in for a blockbuster night of tight election results. [Illustration by Zac Freeland/Vox]

Democrats predict a blue wave and Republicans sense a surge in support after the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation. They both could be right and the nation could be in for a blockbuster night of tight election results. [Illustration by Zac Freeland/Vox]

Democrats predict a blue wave in the looming midterm elections and Republicans point to a GOP surge following the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. They both could be right.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll released over the weekend shows overall enthusiasm for voting this November is markedly higher (12 percent) than it was in October 2014, the last midterm election.

The two largest leaps in enthusiasm from four years ago are among younger (25 percent) and nonwhite (24 percent) voters. Enthusiasm among Democrats jumped 18 percent, independents 13 percent and Republicans 4 percent.

There are fascinating statistics within statistics. The Kavanaugh confirmation battle increased Republican voter resolve this fall, especially among males. President Donald Trump’s approval rating also bumped up. However, a significant gender gap remains. According to the poll, women favor Democratic House candidates by a 59 to 37 percent margin, driven in part by an even greater split among women who identify as political independents (62 to 37 percent).

A striking, though not surprising finding is that partisans on both sides seem to be hardening their positions. Ninety percent of voters who disapprove of Trump are supporting Democratic candidates and 87 percent who approve of Trump are voting for Republicans.

Partisans do agree that the upcoming election is more important than previous midterms. Democrats are more convinced at 74 percent, but 61 percent of Republicans agree.

On issues, poll respondents expressed slightly more trust in Republicans over Democrats in managing the economy (45 to 41 percent), while showing about the same level of trust in Democrats over Republicans on taxes (45 to 42 percent). Democrats hold double-digit leads over Republicans on changing the way Washington works, appointment of Supreme Court justices, immigration and equal treatment of men and women. According to poll results, the economy and health care rank as the top issues.

The poll was conducted last week using a random sample of 1,144 adults, 65 percent reached via cell phones and 35 percent on landline telephones. Reaching voters by cell phone is a major change in the way telephone surveys are conducted to ensure representative inclusion of younger, poorer and minority respondents.