Large Shift in U.S. Immigrant Makeup Projected

The percentage of foreign-born U.S. residents with deep roots in the country is rising and will continue to soar in the coming decades, a USC analysis released today shows.

The percentage of foreign-born residents who have lived in the United States at least 20 years climbed from 30.4 percent of the foreign-born population in 2000 to an estimated 38.5 percent in 2010, according to the report.

Published by the USC Population Dynamics Research Group, the report forecasts that by 2030 the majority of foreign-born residents – or 52.6 percent – will have resided in the United States for at least two decades, laying the basis for stronger social, economic and civic ties among the foreign-born population as they assimilate, the report stated.

“We’re marking a major transformation in America,” said Dowell Myers, USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development professor and co-author of the report.

The report estimated the foreign-born population in 2010 based on a detailed demographic accounting of annual population changes through births, deaths and migration. These estimates provided information not available in the 2010 Census, the first census in over a century that did not record residents’ place of birth.

The forecasting model, developed over the last decade by report co-author John Pitkin of the Population Dynamics Group, also was used to predict the percentage of U.S. residents who are foreign-born or children of immigrants by 2040.

The percentage of those living in the United States who are foreign-born or children of immigrants will jump from 22.5 percent in 2010 to 30.5 percent by 2040, according to the projection.

That’s a level that has not been reached since 1930, the report stated.

“The foreign-born population is not only increasing, it’s changing quite rapidly,” Pitkin said. “These projections give a new and much more detailed picture of what the immigrant population will be like in 10 or 20 years.”

Among other findings of the report:

• The total U.S. population is predicted to hit 391.1 million in 2040, a number that is 13 million below the latest projection issued in 2008 by the U.S. Census Bureau.

• Rates of annual immigration, which slowed during the Great Recession, are not expected to return to the peak levels experienced in 2000. Net immigration, estimated to be less than 1 million in 2009, is projected to rise to 1.18 million in 2014 and 1.25 million in 2025. Pitkin and Myers convened a panel of leading national demographic and economic experts to forecast the annual immigration rate.

Myers is director of the Population Dynamics Research Group and a specialist in urban growth and development with expertise as a planner and urban demographer.

Pitkin, an economist and demographer, is a senior research associate in the group.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Los Angeles-based John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation provided funding for this report.

For a full copy of the report, visit

Substack subscription form sign up
The material in this press release comes from the originating research organization. Content may be edited for style and length. Want more? Sign up for our daily email.