Pew Offers Immigrant Insights Within Demographic Trends

Immigrants play an important role in demographic shifts occurring within the United States and throughout the world over the past couple of years, according to a recent report from Pew Research. With more than 250 million individuals living outside their native countries, some global regions see rapid growth in the exodus rate while other regions experience growth in populations representative of particular nationalities.

In the United States, according to Pew, the flow of international students nearly doubled from 179,000 in 2008 to 364,000 in 2016. The rate, “far outpacing growth in overall college enrollment,” showed stronger growth in public schools more than private schools. Students from China, India and South Korea represented more than half– 54 percent– of the foreign-born growth population in pursuit of higher education degrees in U.S. institutions in 2016.

In the years from 2007 to  2015, a 25 percent uptick in the number of immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras flowing into the U.S. represent another rise in specific populations coming to the U.S. The Pew report also notes significant growth in the black immigrant population with 4.2 million black immigrants living in the country in 2016, accounting for a five-fold increase in the group since 1980.

On another front, naturalization rates “among most of the largest immigrant groups” increased significantly from 2005 to 2015. In 2005, immigrants to the U.S. who chose to naturalize numbered 14.4 million. In 2015, 19.8 million immigrants opted to pursue U.S. citizenship. Individuals born in Ecuador and India represented the largest increases in the naturalized citizen demographic.

In terms of those individuals coming to the U.S. as refugees, according to Pew’s analysis of data from the U.S. State Department, overall numbers reflect a down trend as numbers “declined after 2016, even as the global refugee population increased.” The decline, reflected in refugee numbers across 46 states in the nation, simultaneously reflects an increase in the number of Christian refugees and a decrease in the number of Muslim refugees.

In another break down of numbers of refugees coming to the U.S., the end of fiscal year 2017 saw most of the group as from the Middle East and Africa. This compares to a refugee majority from Ukraine and Bosnia Herzegovina coming to the U.S. during fiscal year 2002. Between fiscal years 2008 and 2012, more than 40 percent of refugees admitted to the country hailed from Asian countries.

From a global perspective, sub-Saharan African nations account for the fastest growing international migrant populations from 2010 to the present with a growth rate of 50 percent or more from 8 countries in the region. This compares to a worldwide average migrant growth rate of only 17 percent.