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Immigrant Share of the Population Could Reach Huge 1900 Levels

photo of Niraj Chokshi
February 7, 2013


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Immigrants and their children could soon make up as much of the population as they did at the turn of the 20th century, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.

First- and second-generation immigrants are on track to make up more than a third of the U.S. population by 2050, as depicted in the chart below, surpassing their share of the population in 1900 and rebounding from a dip in the second half of the last century.

 

 



The 130-page report on the adult children of immigrants is full of figures and charts, but some of the most interesting visualizations show how the immigrant population has changed over time.

For example, at the turn of the 20th century, both new immigrants and the grown children of immigrants accounted for an equal share of the adult population. Then, for a large part of the 20th century, there were many more adult second-generation immigrants than new immigrants. Now, however, new immigrants account for almost twice the share of the adult population as the grown children of immigrants.



And the incoming immigrant population today is far more diverse than earlier immigrant waves, according to the Pew study. Half of U.S. immigrants since 1965 have hailed from Latin America. More than a fourth came from South or East Asia and the remaining immigrants came mostly from Europe and Africa. Between 1890 and 1919, 88 percent of immigrants came from Europe, just 1 percentage point shy of the share they accounted for between 1840 to 1889.

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