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Immigration by the Numbers

When it comes to immigration, there are a lot of assumptions and speculations about who is doing what, from where, and why. As one of the millions of immigrants to the United States, I have been asked many questions about my immigration status, reasons for immigrating, and how to assimilate into the mainstream of our society.

As US immigration is among the leading topics discussed in government and in the news, GovEx wanted to take a look at the numbers and see what they tell us. Check out the visualizations we created of statistics from 1850 to 2017 regarding education, jobs, and unemployment.

Since 1850, the total US population has been consistently increasing, while the total number of immigrants peaked in the 1920s. Immigration began dropping the 1930s, as a result of a series of policies during the Great Depression and World War II, which capped Western European and later Chinese immigration. There was an increase in immigration after passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 and another law in 1990 which recognized the immigration of many Latin Americans under certain conditions.

Other interesting findings include:

  • Jobs: When comparing employment sectors between the total US and immigrant populations, the most obvious employment advantage for immigrants is in the Service sector. But in the Sales & Office and Management, Business, Science and Arts sectors, the total US population share is approximately 7% higher than immigrants.
  • Education: During the last ten years, the percentage of immigrants who have bachelor’s degree and higher is more than the percentage of the total population who has the same degree level between 2007 and 2011. However, since 2011, there has been a decrease in the educational levels among those who immigrate to the States.
  • Unemployment: The unemployment trends of both populations seem to trend closely to one another over the last ten years, with larger gaps in 2008, 2009 and 2016.

The data show that over the decades immigrants have made significant contributions to the US economy, particularly when it comes to the service sector (Although more data is required to plumb the depths of these contributions). It will be interesting to see how ongoing changes in immigration law and enforcement will impact this data.

Of course, in the end, these are depictions of large trends. Each point on these graphs represents a person, like me, who came to the US in search of something better, and in turn, to contribute our talents and skills to the economy.

 

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