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Over Half of Immigrants in the US Reside in Only Four States, Half Have Attained Citizenship

More than half of the immigrant population in the United States is concentrated in just four states: California, Texas, Florida, and New York. This demographic trend, highlighted in a recent report released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday, reveals significant shifts in the composition and characteristics of the foreign-born population over the past twelve years.

As of 2022, the foreign-born population was estimated at 46.2 million individuals, comprising nearly 14% of the total U.S. population. Most states have witnessed double-digit percentage increases in their immigrant populations during this period, underscoring the growing diversity across the nation.

In states like California, New Jersey, New York, and Florida, foreign-born residents represent more than 20% of the population in each state, while states like West Virginia have a much smaller foreign-born population, accounting for just 1.8% of its residents.

While half of the foreign-born individuals hail from Latin America, there has been a notable shift in their origins over the past twelve years. The number of immigrants from Mexico has decreased by approximately one million, whereas those from South America and Central America have increased by 2.1 million. Additionally, the proportion of the foreign-born population from Asia has risen, now representing under a third, while the share of African-born immigrants has also seen a slight increase from 4% to 6%.

The release of this report comes amid heightened attention to immigration issues, particularly as they intersect with the 2024 presidential race. The Biden administration grapples with managing the influx of migrants at the Southwest border, shaping the political landscape and influencing voter sentiments regarding border security and immigration policies.

While the Census Bureau report does not provide estimates on the undocumented immigrant population, it does reveal that more than half of the foreign-born individuals are naturalized citizens. Notably, European-born and Asian-born immigrants have the highest naturalization rates, with around two-thirds of each group having obtained citizenship. Moreover, a significant portion of the foreign-born population arrived in the U.S. before 2010, highlighting the enduring presence of immigrants in American society.

Over the past twelve years, the foreign-born population has also undergone demographic shifts, with the median age increasing to 46.7 years. Additionally, there has been a notable increase in educational attainment among immigrants, with three-quarters now holding at least a high school degree, reflecting the ongoing integration and contributions of immigrants to American society.

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