The U.S. Foreign-Born Population Reached Its Highest Level Since 1910 Last Year

September 13, 2018, 3:36 PM UTC

The share of the foreign-born population in the U.S. has reached a high not seen since 1910—but it’s not who President Donald Trump thinks is entering the country.

According to new data released by the Census Bureau Thursday, 13.7% of the U.S. population was foreign born in 2017, up from 13.5% in 2016. The origins of the approximately 44.5 million foreign-born population has also changed significantly in recent years.

For years, the majority of newcomers to the U.S. were from Latin America. In 2010, people from Latin America represented 37% of the foreign-born population. The balance has now shifted, with more and more coming from Asia—41% of those who arrived in the U.S. since 2010 are Asian, as compared to 39% from Latin America.

What’s more, a greater share of the foreign-born population is college educated—45% have a higher education now compared to 30% of those who arrived between 2000 and 2009.

William Frey, a senior demographer at the Brookings Institution, told The New York Times that “this is quite different from what we had thought.”

“We think of immigrants as being low-skilled workers from Latin America,” he said, “but for recent arrivals that’s much less the case. People from Asia have overtaken people from Latin America.”

At one time, the largest number of immigrants did in fact come from Mexico. But that number has significantly decreased, while more and more people from China and India have made their way to the U.S. The increase in the number of people from Asia is more than double that of those who came from Latin America since 2010—2.6 million from the former and 1.2 million from the latter.

Nevertheless, Latin Americans still comprise the largest portion of the total foreign-born population; 50% come from Latin America as compared to 31% from Asia.