Special Report

States With the Largest Immigrant Populations

Detailed Findings

The states with the highest share of immigrants are led by California (27%) and New York (22.6%). By comparison, in 19 states the share of the foreign-born population is less than 5%. Montana (2%) and West Virginia (1.6%) are at the bottom.

About 13% of the country’s population was born abroad, and many more have at least one foreign-born parent.

With the exception of Pennsylvania and Ohio, the states with the largest populations – California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois – are also home to the highest percentage of foreign-born people.

Mexican-born immigrants are the largest immigrant group by percentage in six of the 14 states with the biggest immigrant populations. Dominicans have recently overtaken Puerto Ricans as New York City’s largest Hispanic group. Chinese have been particularly attracted to Massachusetts, and Indians have leaned toward New Jersey. Hawaii’s largest foreign-born population is people from the Philippines.


To determine the states with the largest share of immigrant population immigrants, 24/7 Wall St. ranked states based on the share of the population that was born outside of the United States with data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey for the period 2011 to 2016. Data on population change due to net international migration also came from the Census Bureau. Data on naturalizations and green cards by origin country and fiscal year came from the Department of Homeland Security’s Yearbook of Immigration Statistics 2017.