Have most migrants entering the US without legal authorization ended up living in Florida?

Monday, October 11, 2021
By Jacob Alabab-Moser

The Department of Homeland Security in 2018 estimated that California and Texas were home to the most people lacking legal authorization to live in the U.S., with estimated populations of 2.6 million and 1.9 million people, respectively. Together, these two states’ unauthorized migrant populations represented 40% of the nationwide total. The next leading states were Florida, with about 6% of the total, followed by New York, Illinois and New Jersey.

Unauthorized residents are more concentrated in urban areas than the U.S. population overall, with 61% of the estimated total living in 20 metro areas in 2016. The metropolitan areas with the largest concentrations were New York and Los Angeles.

In Florida, the unauthorized population grew by 110,000—about 20%—between 2015 and 2018. Between 2015 and 2019, Miami was the metropolitan area where immigrants, including those living there both legally and illegally, comprised the largest share of the population.

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