Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States

U.S. immigration trends and policies underwent a series of dramatic changes over the last year. Wide COVID-19 vaccine availability in the United States and other wealthy countries led to easing of travel restrictions and gave new life to international mobility and the global economy. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s inauguration brought new policy priorities designed to increase migrant protections and smooth immigrants’ arrival into the country, in sharp contrast to the restrictive approach of the prior Trump administration. Among these was the Biden administration’s extension of temporary protections to just under 475,000 Venezuelans, Afghans, Ukrainians, and Burmese already in the United States, following global crises around the world. At the same time, a record-breaking number of apprehensions and expulsions occurred on the southern border, and continued slowdowns of government services due to the pandemic and other factors contributed to delayed immigration processing.

This Spotlight offers information about the approximately 44.9 million immigrants in the United States by compiling the most authoritative and current data available. It provides an overview of historic immigration trends in the United States, sociodemographic information about who is immigrating, through which channels, and how many immigrants become naturalized citizens. It also provides data on the government’s enforcement actions and adjudication efforts to process visas.

This article draws on statistics from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI); the U.S. Census Bureau (using its 2019 American Community Survey [ACS], 2021 Current Population Survey [CPS], and 2000 decennial census); and the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and State. (Note: DHS and State Department data refer to fiscal years that begin on October 1 and end on September 30; ACS and CPS data refer to calendar years). For more detailed information on U.S. and global immigration data sources and one-click access to these datasets, see the MPI report Immigration Data Matters. All the data tools and maps linked to in this article also can be accessed through MPI’s Migration Data Hub.