In recent years, there have been significant changes in where undocumented immigrants originate from and where they choose to settle in the U.S. A new report by the Pew Research Center sheds light on what we know about the undocumented immigrant population in the U.S. and how migration patterns are shifting.
The report estimates that the undocumented immigrant population reached 10.5 million in 2021, representing around 3% of the total U.S. population, among the lowest levels since the 1990s. Overall, the undocumented immigrant population decreased by 14% between 2007 and 2021.
In addition to changes in the total number of undocumented immigrants, where these individuals come from and where they choose to live in the U.S. are also changing. The majority of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are born in Mexico, but the number of undocumented Mexican immigrants decreased drastically by 900,000 from 2017 to 2021. Experts attribute this drop in migration from Mexico to several factors, including expanded pathways to legal immigration in recent years, especially for temporary agricultural workers.
While the number of undocumented immigrants from Mexico has decreased, almost every other region of the world has seen a steady increase in migration to the U.S., with the largest increases from Central America and South and East Asia. After Mexico, the countries with the largest undocumented immigrant populations in the U.S. as of 2021 were El Salvador, India, Guatemala, and Honduras.
According to the Pew report, where undocumented immigrants choose to settle in the U.S. also saw some slight changes in 2021. Among all states in the U.S., only Florida and Washington experienced a rise in their undocumented immigrant populations. California and Nevada saw declines, while the undocumented immigrant populations in all other states remained stable.
You can read more details about these demographic shifts in the Pew report here.