Chart Of The Day

Immigrants

Casselman debunks common misconceptions about the origins of America’s immigrants:

The immigration debate, now as then, focuses primarily on illegal immigration from Latin America. Yet most new immigrants aren’t Latinos. Most Latinos aren’t immigrants. And, based on the best available evidence, there are fewer undocumented immigrants in the U.S. today than there were in 2007. … The immigration debate gets one thing right: The foreign-born population is growing. In 2012, according to data from the Census Bureau, there were more than 40 million people living in the U.S. who weren’t born here, up 31 percent since 20001; the native-born population grew just 9 percent over that time. The foreign-born now represent 13 percent of the population, near a historical high. The drivers of that growth, however, have changed significantly in recent years.

Furthermore, the Latinos who have already arrived are rapidly assimilating:

Political commentary often treats the issues of immigration and Hispanic ethnicity as two sides of the same coin. But U.S. Latinos are looking more and more like other Americans. Nearly 68 percent of U.S. Hispanics speak English fluently, up from 59 percent in 2000; more than a quarter report speaking only English at home. Latino high school graduates are now more likely than whites to enroll in college, although they are still less likely to graduate. Latinos are becoming less likely to be Catholic and choosing to have smaller families, and they more closely resemble the population at large on social issues such as abortion and gay rights. Nearly half of all Hispanics and about two-thirds of native-born Hispanics consider themselves to be “a typical American.”