Friday, May 24, 2024

Decrease in Number of Foreign-Born People in U.S.

A report released by the Census Bureau on Tuesday found that the number of foreign-born people living in the United States declined last year. The losses are most visible in California, Florida, Arizona, and Michigan, all states that have been dramatically impacted by the recession.

These findings were part of the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, an annual report that also includes data on income and insurance.

There was a drop of roughly 100,000 foreign-born people last year, a figure that brought down the percentage of the overall population from 12.6 to 12.5 percent. Although this drop is relatively small – considering the nationwide population of foreign-born people is 38 million – this is the first official decline in at least four years.

“This is clearly a downturn related to the economy in the U.S.,” said William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution. “What looks like negative immigration is something that, two or three years ago, you wouldn’t have expected at all. It shows immigrants respond to the economy.”

A trend the Census found, that has been noted in other surveys and reports, was that there is an ongoing decrease in the number of immigrants from Mexico. The number of Latinos dropped in all regions of the U.S. except the Northeast, where the number stayed the same.

The Pew Hispanic Center released a study this summer that found a decline in the number of new immigrants, while the number that return home stayed about the same.

Mark Lopez, associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center, said that many immigrants have been affected by the economic downturn, but the decrease may in part be due to many people having been deterred by stricter immigration enforcement. “Many Hispanics worry that they themselves, or someone they know, may be deported,” Lopez said.

Others believe that the unstable economy is solely to blame for the decreasing numbers. Michael Cassidy, head of the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, said “We’ve had a lot of enforcement in play for years…I think that points to the economic reasons behind the shift, as opposed to the enforcement reasons. When there are no jobs, people aren’t coming and they’re not staying.”

Washington Post