2018 census survey reveals highest number of foreign-born residents

The 2018 American Community Survey (ACS) data was released on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019 and revealed that the numbers of foreign-born US residents is at the highest its ever been since 1910 – in almost 120 years.

The number of people who are living in the US, who were not born here, come to 44.7 million or the equivalent of 13.7% of the total US population of 327.2 million. And of the 44.7 million born in another country, approximately 22.7 million of them are not US citizens. 

These figures come at a time of fierce political debate over whether the upcoming 2020 census should continue to include the US citizen question. The US Census Bureau is the agency that compiles the ACS and it includes questions on each person’s place of birth, if they are a citizen and if not, what year they entered the US.

It was decided, however, by the Supreme Court this past June that the current administration did not provide the needed specific, valid reason for adding the citizenship question to the 2020 census and so the census documents were printed by the government in July without that question.

Bloomberg reports that around 50 to 60 years ago, approximately one in 20 residents living in the US was born in another country. But today, that figure is now one in seven residents who are first generation that are foreign-born. Data shows that in the US’ largest states, like Texas, New York, California and Florida over 15% of their residents are foreign-born.

Other data, released by the ACS on Thursday, to take note of is that even though it showed an expansion regarding income inequality, poverty rates decreased between the years of 2017 and 2018.  This decrease in poverty rates is the fifth year in a row. In 2017, 13.4% of the US population fell below the poverty line and in 2018 the number was 13.1%. Out of the 50 states, including Puerto Rico, the poverty rate declined in 14 states but increased in only one – in Connecticut.

The Gini Index, according to Investopedia, is “a statistical measure of distribution developed by the Italian statistician Corrado Gini in 1912 and it is often used as a gauge of economic inequality, by measuring income distribution or, less commonly, wealth distribution among a population.” 

In the Gini Index, zero represents perfect equality in economic distribution and one represents perfect inequality.

During the years between 2017 and 2018, the Gini Index grew from 0.482 to 0.485, respectively. However, during this same period the average household income rose .8% to $61,397.