Most Undocumented Immigrants Have Lived In U.S. Over 10 Years

A new study found that nearly two-thirds of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. have lived here for at least 10 years.

The study by the Pew Hispanic Center, based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s March 2010 Current Population Survey, found that out of the estimated 10.2 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., 35% of them have resided in the U.S. for 15 years or more, 28% for 10 to 14 years, 22% for 5 to 9 years, and 15% for less than five years.

Only a decade ago only one-in-six undocumented immigrants had been living in the U.S. for more than 15 years but that number has now doubled. During the same 10-year period, the number of undocumented immigrants residing in the country for 5 years or less fell by more than half from 32% in 2000 to 15% in 2010.

Additionally, nearly half (about 4.7 million people) of undocumented adults are parents of minor children.

These figures support the study’s observation that the sharpest growth in the undocumented population occurred during the late 1990s and early 2000s, with a notable drop in the number of undocumented immigrants coming into the country in recent years, particularly from Mexico.

The situation is attributed to changing economic conditions rather than government policy, plus increased security at the border.

“We have reached the point where the balance between Mexicans moving to the United States and those returning to Mexico is essentially zero,” said Jeffrey Passel of the Pew Hispanic Center.


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