Record-High Number of Foreign-Born People in U.S.

U.S. population concept | Image by John M Lund Photography Inc/Getty Images

The Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey has indicated a record-high number of foreign-born people in the U.S., with a significant increase since President Joe Biden took office in 2021.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, this survey found that 49.5 million foreign-born people lived in the U.S. as of October 2023. This population includes people who crossed into the country both lawfully and unlawfully, and it is the highest recorded number in the U.S.’s history.

Additionally, these 49.5 million people comprise 15% of the U.S. population, the highest proportion of the population recorded in the country’s history. The second highest percentage came in 1890, when 14.8% of the U.S. population was foreign-born, with the third highest percentage being 14.7% in 1910, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

Since 1910, the percentage of foreign-born people in the U.S. continually declined until reaching a low of 4.7% in 1970. Following that year, the percentage began to increase for the next 50 years.

The Congressional Budget Office states that the total U.S. population in 2021 was 332.5 million, with 44.7 million people being foreign-born.

This increase since President Biden took office comes out to roughly 4.5 million people, with the Center for Immigration Studies estimating that roughly have crossed into the U.S. unlawfully.

If this population were to be identified as a single state, the 4.5 million people who have entered the U.S. since President Biden took office would make it the 27th largest state in the country in 2023, sliding between Kentucky and Oregon for the highest populations, according to Stats America. As of 2023, Kentucky’s population was 4,526,154, while Oregon’s was 4,233,358.

The increase in migrants in the U.S. comes as U.S. Customs and Border Protection has reported incredibly high numbers of encounters with unlawful migrants along the southern border, with more than 7.5 million encounters since 2021.

Similarly, the House Homeland Security Committee has reported that there have been roughly 1.7 million “got-aways” — people who unlawfully crossed the Southwest border and were not apprehended by CBP — who have entered the U.S. since Biden took office.

While some may be concerned about the large number of people entering the U.S. since 2021, immigrants have shown to be some of the most important people to the country’s economy.

The American Immigration Council found that in 2021, 13.6% of the country’s population was foreign-born, and immigrants accounted for “22.2 percent of entrepreneurs, 22.8 percent of STEM workers, and 15.2 percent of nurses.”

However, the House Homeland Security Committee also reported that in fiscal year 2023, the CBP, along with Air and Marine Operations, “seized 27,293 pounds of fentanyl, coming across the Southwest border — enough to kill more than 6 billion people.”

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