Undocumented Population in Texas Increasing

The number of undocumented immigrants in the United States remained relatively unchanged in 2010, with a population of about 11.2 million. That’s about 3.7 percent of the country’s total population.

Texas, however, was one of the few states that saw an increase over the last few years, according to a new study released by the Pew Hispanic Center. In 2007, the combined undocumented immigrant population in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma was 1.55 million. That total grew to 1.8 million in 2010, with Texas being home to 1.65 million. That’s about 6.7 percent of the state’s 24.9 million, according to the study. Most of the undocumented population in Texas and elsewhere come from Mexico, though that number has declined during the same time period.

“The decline in the population of unauthorized immigrants from its peak in 2007 appears due mainly to a decrease in the number from Mexico, which went down to 6.5 million in 2010 from 7 million in 2007,” the report states. The group currently composes about 58 percent of the undocumented population in the country.

Because the average age of an undocumented person is likely in the age range of most workers, the undocumented population also composes a significant share of the workforce in states with the highest concentration of undocumented workers. The study estimates that of Texas’ estimated 12.26 million-person labor force in 2010, about 1.1 million, or 9 percent, were unauthorized workers. That figure is second only to California’s, where 1.85 million workers of its 18.8 million-person workforce are unauthorized. Both figures are significantly higher than the national percentage. Nationwide, about 8 million, or 5.2 percent of the nation’s 155 million-person workforce, is unauthorized.

The study reflects the undocumented population in the United States as of March 2010, and uses data from the Current Population Survey, a collaborative effort between the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau. The center said its estimates are calculated using the “residual method,” in which “a demographic estimate of the legal foreign-born population — naturalized citizens, legal permanent residents, temporary legal residents and refugees — is subtracted from the total foreign-born population.”

 

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