WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 19, 2014) — The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) on Wednesday launched a major new data tool offering national and state-level estimates of the 11.4 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States, including population size, countries and regions of origin, recency of arrival, educational enrollment and attainment, English proficiency, industries of employment and health insurance coverage.
The data tool offers topline population estimates of the unauthorized population for the entire United States, 47 states and the District of Columbia, and has detailed profiles of their characteristics for the U.S., 41 states and D.C.; within days, the tool will be updated to add profiles for nearly 100 counties. Using an innovative MPI methodology that takes U.S. Census Bureau data and imputes legal status for noncitizens, the tool also provides estimates of the age, gender, parental and marital status, top languages spoken, labor force participation and home ownership rates for unauthorized immigrants.
“We are delighted to offer the first online data tool of its type that makes it possible for users to obtain detailed estimates and profiles of the unauthorized population at national, state and local levels. The tool represents an invaluable addition to MPI’s published research and data,” said MPI President Michael Fix. “Particularly as the status of unauthorized immigrants is debated in Washington and beyond, this sophisticated data tool will help the public and policymakers better understand the population and the impacts of policies that affect it.”
The data tool will permit significant new analysis of the unauthorized population by researchers, members of the media and the public. Some important trends emerge from an initial review of the new data:
Significant shares of recently arrived unauthorized immigrants in some states, long- settled populations in others. In a wide variety of states, unauthorized populations are heavily comprised of recent arrivals who have been in the United States less than five years — and are thus unlikely to benefit from proposed executive action. More than 30 percent of the unauthorized populations in Hawaii, Louisiana, the District of Columbia, Mississippi, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, Alabama and Massachusetts arrived in the United States less than five years ago. Nationwide, 22 percent of unauthorized immigrants arrived less than five years ago, with 47 percent having 10 years or more of residence. Less than 20 percent of the unauthorized in California, Oregon, Illinois, Arizona and Colorado have been in the United States less than five years.
Only a handful of states have majority non-Mexican unauthorized populations. Mexico, which accounts for 58 percent (6.6 million) of all unauthorized immigrants in the United States, is the top country of origin in 39 states, followed by Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and China. Only five jurisdictions have their largest number of unauthorized immigrants from another country: Hawaii (Philippines), Massachusetts (Brazil), Rhode Island (Guatemala), and Maryland and D.C. (El Salvador).
Significant gender imbalance. There is a significant gender imbalance nationally, with men representing 54 percent of unauthorized immigrants. In Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina, women account for less than 40 percent of unauthorized immigrants. By contrast Hawaii is the only state where women outnumber men in the unauthorized population, at 55 percent.
Varying education levels. Unauthorized populations have the lowest levels of education in Idaho, Nebraska, New Mexico and Oklahoma, where 42 percent or more of adults have less than a ninth grade education (compared to 33 percent of the overall unauthorized population). The highest levels of education are seen in the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Hawaii, New Jersey, Missouri and Connecticut, with at least 20 percent having a bachelor’s degree or more (compared to 13 percent of the U.S. unauthorized population). Nationally, 49 percent of all unauthorized immigrants have a high school degree or higher.
Disparate health insurance coverage. Lack of access to health coverage varied dramatically by state, ranging from an uninsured rate of 75 percent or more for unauthorized immigrants in Mississippi, South Carolina, New Mexico, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Oklahoma to a low of 26 percent or less in three jurisdictions that offer near-universal coverage of the general population: Hawaii, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. Nationally, 63 percent of the unauthorized lack health coverage.
High immigrant ownership in Texas, low in Mississippi. One of the states with the highest home ownership rates in the general population, Mississippi, has one of the lowest rates for home ownership by unauthorized immigrants: 74.1 percent versus 21 percent. And two states that have some of the lowest overall home ownership rates, Texas and Hawaii, report among the highest rates of home ownership by unauthorized immigrants (42 percent and 40 percent respectively). (For general population home ownership rates, see the U.S. Census Bureau.)
Agriculture a Top 5 industry of employment in nine states. The states with the highest shares of their unauthorized workers in agriculture are all found in the Pacific Northwest: Idaho (32 percent), Washington State (22 percent) and Oregon (18 percent). Other states in which agriculture fell within the top five industries of employment are Kentucky, Michigan, California, Wisconsin, Iowa and North Carolina.
The data tool is based on analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from the 2008-2012 American Community Survey (ACS) and the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) by James Bachmeier of Temple University and Jennifer Van Hook of The Pennsylvania State University, Population Research Institute.
The tool, with topline data and detailed profiles, can be accessed at: www.migrationpolicy.org/ programs/data-hub/ unauthorized-immigrant- population.
For MPI’s Data Hub, which has a wealth of data on immigrants in the United States and internationally, visit: www.migrationpolicy.org/ datahub.
The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank in Washington, D.C. dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide. MPI provides analysis, development and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at the local, national and international levels. For more on MPI, please visit www.migrationpolicy.org.