The annual inflow of unauthorized immigrants to the U.S. was nearly two-thirds smaller in the March 2007 to March 2009 period than it had been from March 2000 to March 2005. This contributed to an 8% decline in the number of unauthorized immigrants currently living in the U.S. The total population fell to 11.1 million in March 2009, down from a peak of 12 million in March 2007. Despite the recent decline, the population of unauthorized immigrants was nearly a third larger (32%) in 2009 than in 2000, when it numbered 8.4 million. The decrease represents the first significant reversal in the growth of this population over the past two decades. The declining unauthorized immigrant population was especially noticeable along the nation’s Southeast coast and in its Mountain West. In Florida, Nevada and Virginia, the unauthorized immigrant population clearly shrank between 2008 and 2009. While other states may have experienced declines, these fell within the margin of error. Read More

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