In 2008, an estimated 11.9 million unauthorized immigrants resided in the United States. The growth of the undocumented population was rapid from 1990 (when there were 3.5 million undocumented immigrants) to 2006 but it has since stabilized. Unauthorized immigrants are 4% of the nation’s population and 5.4% of its workforce. The current population, however, is far more geographically dispersed than in years past as large numbers of immigrants move into states where relatively few had settled two decades ago. This is especially true in Georgia, North Carolina and other southeastern states. While long-time immigrant destinations, including Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas, have retained their appeal to undocumented migrants, the state with the largest immigrant population, California, has seen slower growth. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.