Immigration is shaping up to be one of the hot button issues in the 2020 presidential elections. Despite being described as a nation of immigrants, the United States in recent years has been divided on the subject.
There seems to have been a rise in anti-immigration sentiment over the last few years, yet 59% of Americans think immigrants make the country stronger, according to a March 2019 poll by Pew Research Center.
The United States remains a massive melting pot of people born in other countries, either moving permanently or for the long-term to the U.S. During the last decade alone, about 7.2 million immigrants became naturalized citizens. During the 2018 fiscal year, nearly 757,000 people received a U.S. passport, a five-year high, despite the rate of approving citizenship applications declining slightly to just below 90%.
About 73% of the new citizens in 2018 resided in 10 states — California, Florida, New York, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Washington, in descending order.
About 13.4% of the country’s population, or over 43 million people, were born abroad, and many more have at least one foreign-born parent. In 13 of the 15 states with the highest share of foreign-born citizens, the percentage is higher than the national average of 13.4%. By comparison, in 16 states the share of the foreign-born population is less than 5.0%.
Mexican-born immigrants are the largest immigrant group by percentage in six of the 15 states with the largest immigrant populations. Immigrants born in India, China, the Philippines, and Cuba make up the next largest countries of origin of naturalized Americans, each contributing to the multitude of languages spoken by American families all across the country — this is the most commonly spoken foreign language in every state.
To identify the number of foreign-born citizens in every state, 24/7 Tempo reviewed population breakdowns by naturalization from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. The list is ranked in ascending order from the state with the least share of foreign-born citizens to the state with the largest.
Data on population change due to net international migration and the country of origin for the largest foreign-born populations within each state also came from the ACS. 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.