Sources of Statistical Information on Immigration

Compiled by Irene Bloemraad

Starting Points for Immigration Research
U.S. Government Data Sources
U.S. Think Tanks and Research Institutions
International Academic, Government and Non-Governmental Data Sources

Starting Points for Immigration Research

Immigration Statistics on the web,0717-crs.pdf

Guide to immigration sources on the web,0804-crs.pdf

U.S. Government Data Sources

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Formerly the INS, the new USCIS handles most immigration and naturalization services. The site is a great resource for information about American policy, past and present immigration/citizenship data and there are some very good reports providing an overview of the INS and American immigration history.

Office of Immigration Statistics, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
An good and obvious source for official statistics on immigration and naturalization.  Some reports on the undocumented population, but mostly dated.  Many statistics are aggregated at the national level, but some are by region, state or even city.  It is also very good for trends over time, and it contains electronic “back issues” of the former INS Statistical Yearbook.

U.S. Census Bureau
The official statistical agency of the US federal government, it has various resources, including special reports on the US foreign-born population of the United States (usually national in scope), community profiles of cities, towns and counties (which include race, ethnicity and immigration data), and immigrant group profiles that include specific socio-demographic information on people born in a certain country.  Some of these data can be downloaded as an Excel file so you can do your own analysis.  Beyond the decennial census, the Census Bureau also collects data through the American Community Survey (including Oakland and San Francisco) and the Current Population Survey.

The main Foreign-Born web page of the Census Bureau is the portal for reports on the foreign-born (defined as those not US citizens by birth) from the Census, CPS and other statistical sources.

Statistical data on immigrants, including profiles of groups by country of birth are available at

The American Communities Survey is a rolling survey that is trying to replicate the breadth of the census, but in a more timely manner with annual enumerations.  These are based on samples rather than complete counts.  By 2006, ACS is supposed to cover about 600 metro areas, 450 places, and all 435 congressional districts.  You can download data or view read-made tables and reports.

American Fact Finder
provides fast access to information about specific communities and can get as specific as a zip code.  Data can come from the 2000 Census or from the American Communities Survey.  Easy to use.

The Population Estimates Program each year publishes international migration numbers for the U. S., states, counties, and metropolitan areas.  Provides estimates of population trends for the future.

The International Data Base (IDB) is a computerized data bank containing statistical tables of demographic and socioeconomic data for 227 countries and areas of the world.  Helpful for describing conditions in countries of origin.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is the principal fact-finding agency for the federal government in labor economics and statistics.  You can find data on many labor indicators, including tables and reports for foreign-born workers in the United States.  Go to the main webpage and use the search function for “foreign born”.  Reports (with statistical data) include labor force characteristics of foreign-born workers in 2005 and data on fatal workplace injuries among immigrants, including with a special focus on Latinos.

Department of Education, Data and Statistics, California
This relatively easy-to-use site provides data on students in California public schools, including information on English learners.  You can get profiles of the English learner population, as well as profiles of individual schools and school districts.  Data are updated regularly.  This might provide a window into the changing demographics of certain areas.

Center for Health Statistics, Office of Health Information and Research, California Department of Health Services
This website provides quick access to individual data tables on a variety of topics, including births (with information on whether the mother is foreign born), deaths (including fetal and infant deaths), and population demographics. Data are presented in a variety of forms (e.g., counts, rates, ratios, percent distributions), for different geographic levels (nation, state, county, city health department, ZIP code), and time periods (e.g., annual, multi-year trends).  You can also use the search function to look for reports on the health of the foreign-born (e.g., cervical cancer rates differ by nativity) and ethnic group (e.g., on Latinos). 

Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement, San Jose
A number of cities—usually larger ones—have departments of planning, some of which produce very good maps and statistics about the city.  See, for example, the San Jose Department of Planning site.  It includes maps of neighborhoods, population demographics (usually from the Census), housing information (including average rent prices and house prices), employment/industry information, etc.

Immigrant Policy Project, National Conference of State Legislatures

U.S. Think Tanks and Research Institutions

Center for Immigration Studies
The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research organization founded in 1985. The Center provides publications, reports, statistical information, and research and policy analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States. CIS also operates two free e-mail information services (listservs) on immigration news (CISNEWS). There are usually two long postings each business day, one for U.S. news and the other for overseas news, plus occasional messages listing new publications or upcoming events from around the world.

Historical Statistics of the United States
This is a publication of Cambridge University Press, and there is a website that includes all the tables in the volume, as well as additional information, all in downloadable Excel or.csv spreadsheets.  You can also create custom tables.  There are chapters on population, race/ethnicity and international migration.  Access to the website is restricted to subscribers or institutional affiliates.

Migration Policy Institute
A private, nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank in Washington, DC.  MPI runs the “Migration Information Source” ( which offers some excellent, short policy overview papers (e.g., on current immigration bills in Congress), overviews of immigration policies around the world, and they have an international "data center" that carries immigration, refugee and citizenship stats from a variety of countries in an easy-to-use format.  Their U.S. data center has profiles of large (and some small) immigrant groups in the U.S., including maps of settlement.  Most of the data are national and international (comparative), but it is site worth exploring since it is user-friendly and has excellent data.

Pew Hispanic Center
Founded in 2001, the Pew Hispanic Center is a nonpartisan research organization supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Although the center’s primary focus is on the Latino population, its research and surveys often also include some information on other groups.  The website has reports about demography, economics, education, identity, attitudes (of Latinos, and of non-Latinos towards Latinos), immigration, labor, politics, and remittances. 

Public Policy Institute of California
A private, nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank in San Francisco that does research on population, economy, and governance and public finance in California.  PPIC does not have publicly available raw data, but researchers at PPIC regularly publish reports and working papers on migrants in California, including on the undocumented, naturalization and educational achievement.

The Urban Institute, Immigration Studies Program
The Immigration Studies Program addresses many of the critical issues that surround the integration of newcomers. For instance, immigrants are increasingly dispersed across the United States, settling in smaller cities, towns and rural areas. Immigrant populations are growing especially rapidly in Southeastern, Midwestern, and interior Western states, many of which have little experience in incorporating newcomers. How these states and communities deal with the challenges involved in integrating these new populations is one central area of our research.

International Academic, Government and Non-Governmental Data Sources

Citizenship and Immigration, Canada
This federal department offers information on Canadian immigration, refugee and citizenship policy, and provides some research and statistics on-line.

CONAPO – Consejo Nacional de Población
The Mexican Census portal (in Spanish), with a special subsection on Migration and a recent special report on Mexican migration to the United States.

Department of Immigration, Multiculturalism and Indigenous Affairs, Australia
The department offers information on Australian immigration, refugee, citizenship and multiculturalism policy, and makes some research and statistics available on-line.

Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty - University of Sussex

European Union Immigration Portal
Information on European Union immigration policies.

Index of immigrant integration measures for 25 EU countries plus Canada, Norway and Switzerland

International Labor Organization
The UN specialized agency, which seeks the promotion of social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights. The ILO has a strong interest in migrant labour, and has publications, data and other information on its web site.

International Organization for Migration
An inter-governmental organization that works with states and NGOs to settle migrants and collect information about migration. The web site offers publications and data.

Migration Information Source (MIS) World Migration Map
Click on your country of interest to access that country's data sheet.

OECD Migration Statistics,2647,en_2825_494553_1_1_1_1_1,00.html#494574
Contains data on immigrants and expatriates in OECD countries; the first internationally comparable data set with detailed information on the foreign-born population for almost all member countries of the OECD. Also has cross-national tables on foreign-born population and labor stocks and flows.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
An agency of the United Nations, with a primary mission to safeguard the rights and well being of refugees. A great resource for information about refugee numbers and flows around the world.

Multicultural Policies and Modes of Citizenship in European Cities
The MOST Projects entails comparative analyses within selected urban contexts characterized by a substantial presence and activity of immigrant and ethnic minority groups. Working with policymakers and members of local organizations, their task is to assess the development and interplay of both 'bottom-up' (community led) initiatives and 'top-down' (municipality-created) policies aimed at better integrating immigrant and ethnic minorities in public decision-making processes.

United Kingdom Home Office Immigration and Nationality Directorate
Responsible for regulation of entry to and settlement in the UK. The site includes Immigration Rules, contact details and downloadable immigration forms.

United Kingdom Data Archive
An excellent source for data on the UK.  Registration is free for people affiliated with universities.  Most data are in STATA and SPSS format, and quite a few surveys are relevant to immigrant/ethnic minority issues.

The United Nations Statistics Division
The United Nations Statistics Division collects statistics on international migration flows and on the stock of migrant population through the Demographic Yearbook data collection system. The collection of international migration data is shared among different institutions in order to minimize the burden on countries.

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Contains a number of publications and reports on international migration. Do a search under “Data & Research” to see what is available.

Immigration Workshop - Berkeley, CA 94720