Immigrant Number Climbs in US, Forecast to Have Highest Share Ever in 2023

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The immigration population in the United States climbed to a record 43.7 million people, or 13.5% of the total U.S. population, in 2016, according to a recent report from the American Community Survey from American Factfinder at the U.S. Census Bureau.

The immigrant share of the total U.S. population is the highest since 1920, when the immigrant population of 13.9 million comprised 13.2% of the total American population.

Immigration, legal and illegal, has been a controversial subject throughout American history, and it played a key role in the 2016 presidential campaign. Studies have shown that immigrants are typically younger than the average age of native-born Americans, and economists have said that a younger workforce helps give the United States a competitive advantage over other nations.

Advocates for stricter immigration controls claim the influx of foreign-born people puts a strain on the American workforce, schools, infrastructure, hospitals and the environment.

The Census Bureau projects the immigrant share of the U.S. population will eclipse the 1910 all-time record for immigrant share of the U.S. population of 14.7%. By 2030, the Census Bureau forecasts the immigrant share will be 15.8%, or 56.9 million people.

A large portion of immigrants came from Mexico and Latin America, with Mexican immigrants the largest portion of the foreign-born population in the country in 2016.

The foreign-born proportion of the U.S. population has grown every decennial since 1970, when the proportion of immigrant population was 4.7% of the overall number.

The states with the largest increases in immigration between 2010 and 2016 were Texas, Florida and California. By percentage, the states with the biggest gain in immigrants were North Dakota (47.8%), West Virginia (41.1%) and South Dakota (39.1%).

Two states reported a decline in immigration over the 2010 to 2016 period: Mississippi (4.3%) and Alabama (2.9%).