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Census Brief: Coming to America: A Profile of the Nation's Foreign Born (2000 Update)

Report Number CENBR/01-1

U.S. foreign-born population reaches 28 million.

As of March 2000, according to data collected in the Current Population Survey, the estimated foreign-born population of the United States was 28.4 million. The number climbed 8.6 million, or 44 percent, since the 1990 census. Previously, the foreign-born population had expanded from 9.6 million in 1970, the lowest total in the 20th century, to 14.1 million in 1980 and to 19.8 million in 1990.

Meanwhile, 10 percent of the U.S. population was foreign born in 2000, the highest rate since 1930. (See Figure 1.)1 The 2000 percentage is midway between the highest rates, which occurred during periods of large-scale migration from Europe (14 percent in 1870 and 15 percent in 1890 and 1910), and the lowest rate, which occurred at the end of a long period of limited migration (5 percent in 1970).

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1 Figures 1, 2, 4 and 5 present rounded percentages in bar charts.

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