Immigration Facts
Immigration Facts

33 Interesting Facts about Immigration

Celeste Hurst
By Celeste Hurst, Junior Writer
Published February 3, 2017
  • Almost one out of every 100 people worldwide currently has been forcibly displaced from his or her home, the largest number since 1951.[2]
  • In 2016, more Muslim than Christian refugees entered the United States, with 46 percent of refugees identifying as Muslim and 44 percent identifying as Christian.[2]
  • In 1819, Congress passed a law requiring that the names, ages, and occupations of all arrivals into the United States be recorded. This law is considered the first significant legislation on immigration made by the federal government.[14]
  • An estimated 40 to 50 percent of illegal immigrants residing in the United States did not illegally cross the border. Instead, they obtained legal visas as employees, students, or tourists and did not return home when their visas expired.[11]
  • High levels of illegal immigration into the United States began in the 1940s. World War II created labor shortages, leading to the creation in 1942 of the Bracero Program, which imported workers from Mexico with the intention of returning them to Mexico when they were no longer needed. However, even after the program ended in 1964, many of the former workers illegally reentered the United States to continue working for their previous employers.[14]
  • Immigration U.K. Facts
    Immigrants from all over the world live in the United Kingdom
  • The United Kingdom holds the most diverse population of immigrants in the world.[6]
  • Since 2009, while the number of illegal immigrants entering the United States has stabilized, the number of babies born to illegal immigrants decreased from about 330,300 to 275,000.[12]
  • Shortly after the adoption of the Constitution, a proposal was made to print all federal laws in German as well as English because of the large number of German immigrants. One vote in the House of Representatives defeated the proposal.[14]
  • Immigrants from France live in a higher number of countries throughout the world than immigrants from any other nation.[6]
  • Until the 1970s, male immigrants to the United States outnumbered female immigrants. In 2012, females made up a little over 51 percent of immigrants in the United States.[1]
  • About 60 percent of immigrants currently residing in the United States arrived before 2000.[1]
  • Both Presidents William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson vetoed laws that would have required immigrants to pass literacy tests in order to live in the United States.[14]
  • An estimated 904,000 immigrants in the United States today identify as LGBT.[1]
  • Anyone wishing to become an Austrian citizen must reside there continuously for a minimum of 15 years and denounce any other citizenship.[5]
  • In 2012, 33 percent of adults in Mexico stated that they perceive life in the United States as neither better nor worse than life in Mexico, with 35 percent stating that life in the United States was better than in Mexico.[7]
  • Since 2010, a little over 21 percent of Canada’s total population has been foreign-born.[9]
  • Immigration Facts
    About one out of every five people in Canada was born in another country

  • California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois held 59 percent of the illegal immigrant population in 2014.[8]
  • Fewer than 2 percent of the immigrants who ever arrived in Ellis Island and applied for admission into the United States were rejected.[14]
  • Denmark is not known for welcoming immigrants, with its far-right Danish People’s Party declaring on its website, “Denmark is not an immigrant-country and never has been. Thus we will not accept transformation to a multiethnic society.”[9]
  • The six American Nobel Prize winners of 2016 in the areas of chemistry, physics, and economics are all immigrants.[4]
  • While the number of births in the United States to U.S.-born women has decreased since 1970, the number of births to immigrant women in the United States has risen, meaning that the U.S. population has increased since 1970 due to births to immigrant women.[10]
  • The Immigration Act of 1921 marked the first time a limit was placed not only on the number of immigrants allowed into the United States each year but also on the number of immigrants allowed from individual countries. No more than 3 percent of the number of foreign-born people from each country as recorded on the U.S. 1910 Census could be admitted.[14]
  • A single book led to a huge Scandinavian exodus into the United States. Ole Rynning, a Scandinavian man, wrote A True Account of America for the Information and Help of Peasant and Commoner, which contained practical information such as when to plant which crops and advice on combatting sea-sickness. The book inspired many people throughout Scandinavia to immigrate to the United States, and many Scandinavian children used it as their first text in learning to read.[14]
  • In 2016, Italy is projected to receive more refugees than any other European country.[3]
  • Immigration Syria Facts
    More than half of all Syrians have been forced to leave their homes
  • About 60 percent of Syria’s population has been displaced from their homes.[2]
  • An estimated 40 percent of all Americans have an ancestor who arrived in the United States through Ellis Island.[11]
  • In 2014, 17 percent of the civilian labor force in the United States consisted of immigrants.[15]
  • From 2009 to 2013, an estimated 7.8 million unauthorized immigrants entered the United States. The top five countries of birth for these immigrants were Mexico (56 percent), Guatemala (6 percent), El Salvador (4 percent), Honduras (3 percent), and China (3 percent).[15]
  • In 2014, 29 percent of immigrants in the United States age 25 and older held a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 30 percent of the U.S.-born population.[15]
  • Between 2008 and 2015, about 198,500 unaccompanied minors immigrated to Europe, with 48 percent of them arriving just in 2015.[2]
  • Due to the intense anti-Japanese rhetoric during World War II, about 120,000 Japanese-Americans were forced into internment camps without charges or trials.[14]
  • In 2009, Japan passed a law that offered unemployed Latin American immigrants $3,000 and their family members $2,000 if they promised to return to their country of origin and never return to work in Japan again.[13]
  • The first documented immigration from China into the United States consisted of a single Chinese man in 1820.[14]
  • Immigration Facts INFOGRAPHIC
    Immigration Inforgraphic

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