Border Patrol apprehensions the migrants in ~ the U.S.-Mexico border space on the increase again. Although the majority of people attempting to enter the United says illegally room stopped, this trend might foreshadow boost in the U.S. Not authorised immigrant population after years of loved one stability. Yet the task at the southwestern U.S. Border is only one component of the overall story of not authorised immigration, together a farming share that this population came native regions various other than Mexico or main America and also entered the U.S. Legally but overstayed their visas.

You are watching: How many unauthorized immigrants are in the us

The not authorised immigrant populace is always transforming and churning. The complete number in the nation can continue to be stable or decline even as new immigrants go into illegally or overstay a visa, due to the fact that some voluntarily leaving the country, space deported, dice or come to be lawful residents. In short, the dynamic nature and pace of migrate patterns has resulted in an unauthorized immigrant populace whose size and also composition has actually ebbed and also flowed considerably over the previous 30 years.

Here are vital facts around this populace and the dynamics.

Pew Research center bases the approximates used in this post on a “residual method” comparable to those employed by the U.S. Department of homeland Security’s Office of immigrant Statistics and also nongovernmental organizations, such together the center for migration Studies and also the Migration policy Institute. Those organizations’ approximates are generally continual with ours. Our estimates likewise align with official U.S. Data sources, consisting of birth records, school enrollment figures and tax data, and also Mexican censuses and also surveys.

The very first step in our method is to usage U.S. Census counts and government surveys, such as the American ar Survey, to calculation how countless immigrants live in the U.S. In a details year. Next, we use official counts the immigrant admissions and also other demographic data (death rates, for example) to identify how numerous of these immigrant live in the U.S. Legally. Then we subtract those lawful immigrant from the complete to gain an estimate of the not authorised immigrant population.

Based ~ above experience and also research, we recognize the census counts and also other official surveys tend to miss out on some people. Unauthorized immigrants are specifically likely to be missed. Therefore, we execute a more assessment that potential undercounts or undercoverage. Based upon this additional research, our final estimate the the U.S. Unauthorized immigrant population includes an upward adjustment because that undercount. (Our 1990 estimate originates from work through Robert Warren and John Robert Warren; details can be discovered here.)

The hatchet “unauthorized immigrant” shows standard and also customary intake by many academic researchers and policy analysts; it usually has to be the term used by the U.S. Room of Homeland defense (Office of immigration Statistics). Various other terms such as undocumented or illegal immigrants additionally have been supplied to explain this population.

For more details, watch the Methodology section of this formerly published report.


The U.S. Not authorised immigrant population rose promptly from 1990 come 2007 before declining sharply for two years and also stabilizing at 10.5 million in 2017. Pew research Center’s many recent calculation is well below a top of 12.2 million in 2007, but about triple the approximated 3.5 million in 1990. The estimate contains 1.5 million or an ext people who have actually temporary permission to remain in the U.S. V programs such as Deferred activity for Childhood arrivals (DACA) and Temporary defended Status (TPS), as well as people awaiting decisions on your asylum applications; most can be topic to deportation if government policy changed.


Mexican not authorised immigrants space no longer the bulk of those life illegally in the U.S. together of 2017, 4.9 million unauthorized immigrant in the U.S. To be born in Mexico, when 5.5 million to be from various other countries, the very first time due to the fact that at the very least 1990 the those indigenous Mexico (47% in 2017) were not a bulk of the total. In 2007, an approximated 6.9 million unauthorized immigrants were Mexican, and 5.3 million to be born in other countries. The populace of Mexican-born unauthorized immigrants declined after 2007 because the variety of newly come unauthorized immigrant from Mexico fell drastically – and as a result, much more left the U.S. Than arrived.

The number of unauthorized immigrants from countries other 보다 Mexico ticked up between 2007 and also 2017, from 5.3 million come 5.5 million. The population of unauthorized immigrants born in central America and Asia increased throughout this time, if birth regions of southern America and also Europe saw declines. Over there was no a statistically significant change among other big regions, including the Caribbean, center East-North Africa and also sub-Saharan Africa.

A rising share the U.S. Unauthorized immigrants apparently arrived in the country legally but overstayed their visas. virtually all human being apprehended when attempting to go into the country illegally in ~ the U.S.-Mexico border are from either Mexico or main America. This stand in comparison to the origins of visa overstays.

In recent years, immigrants from countries outside of Mexico and main America accounting for practically 90% the overstays, and also in 2017, over there were more than 30 overstays because that every border apprehension for these countries. Although the Census bureau data Pew Research center uses to calculation the size of the innocuous immigrant populace does no indicate straight whether who arrived through legal status, the origin nations of immigrant in these sources provide indirect evidence. Native 2007 to 2017, the re-publishing of recently arrived unauthorized immigrants (those in the U.S. 5 years or less) from regions various other than central America and also Mexico – the vast majority of whom room overstays – raised from 37% come 63%. At the very same time, the re-publishing of new unauthorized immigrants from Mexico dropped from 52% to 20%.


The decline in the arrival of new unauthorized immigrant in recent years has resulted in a population that is increasingly cleared up in the U.S.

See more: Interactive Map S How Many People Recovered From Corona Virus

around two-thirds that unauthorized immigrant (66%) had actually lived in the U.S. For more than 10 years together of 2017, increase from 41% 10 year earlier. Conversely, freshly arrived unauthorized immigrants (those in the U.S. 5 years or less) accounted because that 20% of the innocuous immigrant populace in 2017 matches 30% in 2007. For Mexicans, the pattern is even much more pronounced. The vast majority (83%) the unauthorized immigrants from Mexico have been in the country much more than 10 years, while just 8% have actually lived in the U.S. For 5 years or less.