Flagging economy behind halt of previous trend
10 February 2010. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates that between January 2008 and January 2009, the number of unauthorised immigrants living in the United States decreased 7%, from 11.6 million to 10.8 million.
Down by 800,000 in one year, against an annual average increase of 250,000 during the 2000-2009 period.
The unauthorised resident population is the remainder or “residual” after estimates of the legally resident foreign-born population (legal permanent residents, asylees, refugees, and non-immigrants) are subtracted from estimates of the total foreign-born population.
This sizeable decline coincides with the U.S. economic downturn, yet another instance that points to how immigration flows are tied to economic trends.
The numbers show that if no jobs are available, immigrants escaping misery will simply go elsewhere. It is makes no sense to put your life and freedom at risk if you are very likely to be poor as you were before leaving your family and home country.
The report breaks down the number of unauthorised immigrants residing in the United States as of January 2009 by period of entry, region and country of origin, state of residence, age, and gender.
Period of Entry
Of the 10.8 million unauthorised immigrants in 2009, 4 million (37 %) had entered the United States on January 1, 2000 or later; 44% came to live in the United States during the 1990s, and 19% entered during the 1980s.
Estimates by Region and Country of Birth
An estimated 8.5 million of the total 10.8 million unauthorised immigrants living in the United States in January 2009 were from the North America region, including Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. The next leading regions of origin were Asia (980,000) and South America (740,000).
Mexico continued to be the leading source of unauthorised immigration to the United States. There were 6.7 million unauthorised immigrants from Mexico in 2009, representing 62% of the unauthorised population.
The next leading source countries for unauthorised immigrants were El Salvador (530,000), Guatemala (480,000), Honduras (320,000), and the Philippines (270,000), followed by India, Korea, Ecuador, Brazil and China.
Chinese unauthorised immigrants decreased from 190,000 to 120,000 (-37%) between 2000 and 2009. Again proof of a rising economy.
Estimates by State of Residence
California remained the leading state of residence of the unauthorised immigrant population in 2009, with 2.6 million, with a 24% share of the national total (30% in 2000). The next leading state, Texas (17%), had 1.7 million unauthorised residents, followed by Florida 7% and New York and Illinois, both 5%.
The greatest percentage increases in the unauthorised population between 2000 and 2009 occurred in Georgia (115%), Nevada (55 %), and Texas (54 %), with Florida decreasing by 10%.
Estimates by Age and Gender
In 2009, 61% of unauthorised immigrants were ages 25 to 44 years, and 58% were male. Males accounted for 62% of the unauthorised population in the 18 to 34 age group in 2009 while females accounted for 52% of the 45 and older age groups.