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India among top 3 nations sending people to US

world Updated: Dec 01, 2007 03:07 IST
Arun Kumar

India is among the top three countries sending people to the US. Immigration to the US is now at an all time high, bringing 10.3 million people to the country since 2000, more than half of them without legal status.

One in eight people living in the US is an immigrant, adding up to 37.9 million -- the highest since the 1920s - according to an analysis of census data released on Thursday by the Centre for Immigration Studies in Washington.

The number of legal immigrants from India has progressively risen from 222,000 in 1980 to 314,000 in 1989, 539,000 in 1999 and 629,000 in 2007, the survey said.

A little over two million immigrants to the US -- or 5.5 per cent -- come from South Asia. India accounts for about 1.7 million of them, with nearly 39 per cent becoming US citizens.

Mexico is the largest sending country, accounting for almost six times as many immigrants as the next largest country, China, including Taiwan and Hong Kong. Latin American and Caribbean countries dominate the list of immigrant-sending countries, accounting for almost half of the top-25 countries.

Mexico accounts for 31 per cent of all immigrants in 2007, up from 28 per cent in 2000, 22 per cent in 1990, and 16 per cent in 1980. The top sending country in 1970 was Italy, which now accounts for only 10 per cent of the foreign-born.

An estimated 11.3 million immigrants are illegals with 57 per cent of them coming from Mexico and 11 per cent from Central America. Asia as a whole accounts for at least nine per cent of the illegal population in the US.

Since 2000, 10.3 million immigrants have arrived -- the highest in any seven-year period in US history. More than half of post-2000 arrivals (5.6 million) are estimated to be illegal immigrants.

The largest increases in immigrants were in California, Florida, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, Arizona, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

Among adult immigrants, 31 per cent have not completed high school, compared to eight per cent of local Americans.

Key findings:

-- Immigrants account for one in eight US residents, the highest level in 80 years. In 1970 it was one in 21; in 1980 it was one in 16; and in 1990 it was one in 13.

-- Immigrants and natives have similar rates of entrepreneurship -- 13 per cent of natives and 11 percent of immigrants are self-employed.

-- Recent immigration has had no significant impact on the age structure of the US population. Without the 10.3 million post-2000 immigrants, the average age in America would be virtually unchanged at 36.5 years.

-- Overall, nearly one in three immigrants is an illegal entrant. Half of Mexican and Central American immigrants and one-third of South American immigrants are illegal.

-- Of adult immigrants, 31 percent have not completed high school, compared to eight per cent of natives. Since 2000, immigration increased the number of workers without a high school diploma by 14 per cent, and all other workers by three percent.

-- The share of immigrants and natives who are college graduates is about the same. Immigrants were once much more likely than natives to be college graduates.

-- The poverty rate for immigrants and their US-born children (under 18) is 17 per cent, nearly 50 per cent higher than the rate for natives and their children.

-- 34 per cent of immigrants lack health insurance, compared to 13 per cent of natives. Immigrants and their US-born children account for 71 per cent of the increase in the uninsured since 1989.

-- Immigrants make significant progress over time. But even those who have been in the US for 20 years are more likely to be in poverty, lack insurance or use welfare than natives.

-- The primary reason for the high rates of immigrant poverty, lack of health insurance and welfare use is their low education levels, not their legal status or an unwillingness to work.

-- Of immigrant households, 82 per cent have at least one worker compared to 73 per cent of native households.