Immigrants in California: The Facts

Immigrants make essential contributions to our community. Los Angeles County is home to 3.45 million immigrants, the most of any county nationwide. LA County has more immigrants than the second and third ranked counties (Miami-Dade County, FL and Harris County, TX) combined. Of course, it is not just Los Angeles County. Immigrants are valued members of every community in California.

Here, our Los Angeles immigration law firm provides an overview of the latest facts about California’s immigrant communities.

Latest California Immigrant Facts

  1. California Has the Most Immigrants of Any State in the Nation
  2. The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) estimates that California is home to more than 10 million immigrants—with approximately one in four immigrants nationwide calling our state home. Not only does California have far and away the most immigrants (Texas is second with 4.7 million), it also has the highest percentage of foreign born residents of any U.S. state. To be sure, 27 percent of California’s residents are immigrants, far higher than the national average of 13 percent.

  3. The Majority of California Immigrants are U.S. Citizens—But Immigration Status Varies
  4. Many of California’s immigrants have deep roots in the United States. In fact, the slight majority of our state’s immigrants are U.S. citizens. A recent survey found that 55 percent of California’s immigrants report that they obtained citizenship through naturalization. Another 25 percent hold green cards or visas. The remaining 20 percent are undocumented.

  5. California’s Immigrants are Gradually Changing
  6. The immigrants of California are as diverse as any group in the country. The face of our state’s immigrants is slowly changing. In the 1980s and 1990s, the overwhelming majority of immigrants to California originated in Latin America—Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala were the most common countries of origin. However, in 2017, nearly 60 percent of new arrivals to California originated in Asia. Federal immigration data shows that China, the Philippines, Vietnam, and India are the new most common countries of origin for immigrants to California.

  7. Most Californians Understand and Appreciate the Contributions of Immigrants
  8. Unfortunately, immigrants still face serious barriers to equity. We have a long way to go to create a better immigration system and a more fair society. At the same time, it is important to emphasize that California is welcoming to immigrants and the majority of our state’s residents appreciate the contributions of immigrant communities. According to a study from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), 72 percent of Californians believe that immigrants benefit the state. An even higher proportion (85 percent) are in favor of creating new paths to legal status for undocumented immigrants.

We Advocate for Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles and Throughout Southern California

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we are an award-winning immigration law firm committed to delivering results for our clients. You deserve personal attention and support. Do you need help from a reliable immigration attorney? Call us now to schedule a confidential initial appointment. From our Los Angeles office, we are well-positioned to represent immigrants throughout the region.

Josh Goldstein
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