US immigrant population hits record level

The total number of immigrants (both legal and illegal) living in the United States has reached an all-time record of 42.1 million, new figures show.

This means that immigrants now account for 13.3 per cent of the nation’s total population – the largest share in 105 years.

New analysis of monthly Census Bureau data carried out by the US Centre for Immigration Studies, reveals that the number of immigrants living in the United States at the end of the second quarter of 2015 was 1.4 million higher than it had been a year ago.

After growing little from 2007 to 2011, the nation’s immigrant population has grown by 4.1 million from 2011 to 2015. This is roughly equal to the pace of growth from 2000 to 2007. The 1.4 million growth in the immigrant population from 2014 to 2015 is one of the largest single-year increases from the same quarter of the prior year since 2000.

The growth was led by a rebound in the number of Mexican immigrants settling in the US, which increased by 740,000 from 2014 to 2015. This accounted for 44 per cent of the increase in the total immigrant population in the last year.

In addition to Mexico, growth in the immigrant population was led by a 449,000 increase in other countries located in Latin America.

However, the Department of Homeland Security and other researchers have estimated that eight in 10 illegal immigrants are from Mexico and Latin America, so the increase in immigrants from these countries is seen as an indication that illegal immigration has begun growing again.