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Immigrant Population in the U.S. Hits Record High

Sep 18, 2023

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The immigrant population in the U.S. is on the rise once again, reaching a record high of over 46 million, according to recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. This marks a significant increase of nearly one million people from the previous year — a noteworthy development considering that growth had slowed in recent years due to various factors, including Trump’s anti-immigration policies and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The foreign-born share of the U.S. population, which had remained relatively stable since 2017, rose to nearly 14% according to the latest data, making the growth in 2022 as substantial as the previous four years combined.

At the state level, Florida saw the most substantial increase in its foreign-born population, adding over 200,000 immigrants in the past year. This was more than double the growth of the state with the second-largest increase, Georgia, where immigrants made up 10.7% of the state’s population in 2022.

The Census data also highlights gains in the immigrant population in other states such as Maryland, New Jersey, and Iowa, driven in part by existing support systems and already established immigrant communities in these areas.

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This latest Census data underscores the evolving nature of the immigrant population in the U.S., with notable changes in where these individuals immigrate from and their education levels. The data reveals significant increases in the number of immigrants from Latin America and Asia. Many of the new immigrants also hold undergraduate or postgraduate degrees, challenging the stereotype that immigrants are predominantly low-skilled and reliant on government support.

Experts attribute the renewed growth to several factors, including a gradual restart of visa processing, which had come to a halt during the pandemic. Increased immigrant numbers are a sign that the U.S. immigration system is functioning more effectively, with more people being admitted after a period of restricted immigration. The Biden administration’s efforts to welcome tens of thousands of people under new humanitarian parole programs have contributed to the increase, in addition to the recent influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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