New Dataset Highlights Several Trends Related to a Decline in the Unauthorized Population

Grantees in this story

In December 2014, the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) released a paper that provided new estimates of the U.S. unauthorized resident population. The paper describes the development of a new dataset with detailed information about unauthorized residents derived from data collected in the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). In addition, the new estimates provide an opportunity to examine the dramatic changes in unauthorized immigration in the past two decades and the assumptions that have shaped US policies and public opinion.

The new dataset highlights several trends related to a decline in the unauthorized population, and many of these findings defy conventional wisdom. The study found that:

  • The unauthorized resident population was about a million lower in 2013 than in 2007.
  • Annual arrivals into the unauthorized population increased to more than one million in 2000, then began to drop steadily, and have now reached their lowest levels since the early 1980s.
  • From 2000 to 2012, arrivals from Mexico fell by about 80 percent.
  • Between 2010 and 2013, the total unauthorized population from Mexico declined by eight percent.
  • In 2006, the number of arrivals from Mexico fell below the total number of arrivals from all other countries (combined) for the first time.

 More on the paper here