America’s Immigrant Population Reaches All-Time High—45.6 Million People

US Census Bureau Data Shows America’s Immigrant Population is at an All-Time High: 45.6 Million People

The US Census Bureau recently released new data from its 2016 American Community Survey (ACS)—the largest survey administered by the US government, with data collected directly from over 2 million households.  It provides a relatively accurate snapshot of the country.

Perhaps the most important, if unsurprising piece of data is the fact that America’s immigrant population is at an all time high: America is home to at least 43.7 million immigrants.

In fact, the number is likely even higher: the Department of Homeland Security estimates that some 1.9 million immigrants are missed by the ACS surveys.  Given this fact, there are likely over 45.6 million immigrants currently residing in America.

This figure includes both legal and illegal immigrants, although the number of illegals is likely underestimated by a significant margin.

Not only is the absolute number of immigrants at an all-time high, but so is the share of immigrants as a percent of the population (the colonial era excluded).  Right now America’s immigrant population makes up 14.1 percent of the nation—back in 1970 it was just 4.7 percent.

We are very quickly approaching the peak of 14.7 percent back in the 1910s, just following the great Irish and Italian migration waves.  Displayed graphically:

america immigrant population as percent of total population, historical

Not only has the overall number of immigrants increased, their composition has changed dramatically in the last few decades (especially since the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965).

For example, the level of immigration from Europe has decreased both in terms of a percent of total immigrants, but also in absolute numbers.  Meanwhile, the number of immigrants from Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America have increased dramatically.

The following chart breaks the US population down by national origin, revealing the above trend:

US immigrant population by ethnicity, historical

America is, without a doubt, changing rapidly.  The nation is accepting far too many immigrants relative to what it can reasonably expect to assimilate.

Because of this, many natural-born Americas are increasingly feeling like “strangers in their own land“—social dislocation is the inevitable result of living in culturally, ethnically, and linguistically fragmented communities and neighborhoods.

Likewise, America’s middle class has been hurt by mass immigration: wages have stagnated, jobs prospects have dried up, and taxes have increased.  Immigration isn’t an economic panacea, and it’s time we recognized this fact.

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