Today marks International Migrants Day, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is calling on the international community to unite to remember the refugees and migrants who have lost their lives or have disappeared while trying to reach safe harbor.
Other advocates are using the day to shed light on issues of terrorism, human rights violations, and foreign policy as they relate to refugees and migrants seeking better opportunities on continents including Europe, Asia, and the North America.
Here are a few telling statistics on U.S. immigrants, their presence in the U.S., and their economic impact:
- According to the Migration Policy Institute, in 2013, approximately 41.3 million immigrants lived in the United States, an all-time high for the nation.
- The United States attracts 20% of the world’s international migrants, and immigrants accounted for 13% of the more than 300 million U.S. residents
- In 2013, 69,909 refugees were admitted to the United States, an almost 20% increase from 2012.
- The nationals of Iraq, Burma, and Bhutan made up 64% of all refugees admitted in 2013. Other countries of origin for refugee resettlement in 2013 were Somalia, Cuba, Iran, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Eritrea, and Ethiopia, and together, those countries make up 95% (66,624) of all refugee arrivals in 2013.
- According to DHS’ Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS), an estimated 11.4 million unauthorized immigrants resided in the United States as of January 2012 compared with 11.5 million in January 2011.
- The highest number of unauthorized immigrants resided in California (28%), Texas (13%), New York (8%), and Florida (6%).
- Black immigrants earn 30% more than U.S.-born blacks, and by 2060, one out of every six U.S. blacks will be immigrants.
- Foreign-born blacks are more likely to be self-employed than U.S. born, according to research.
- According to Migration Policy Institute, black African immigrants represent one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. immigrant population, increasing by almost 200% during the 1980s and 1990s and by 100% during this century.
- The institute also indicates that the U.S. Canada, and Australia disproportionately attract well-educated African migrants than the UK, France, and other European countries, and that black Africans are much more likely than other immigrant groups to be admitted to the United States as refugees or through the diversity visa program.
- Demographers indicate African immigrants in general have a harder time integrating into the American workforce, demographers say.
- Africans from relatively prosperous, English-speaking countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa have an easier time navigating the system, experts say.
- Among recently arrived African foreign-educated immigrants, the underemployment rate is 39%, compared with 20% of college-educated U.S. workers and 25% of all foreign-educated immigrants.
Find out more on how the world is commemorating International Migrants Day here.