More Than 60 Percent of Undocumented Adults Have Been in U.S. Over 10 Years: Study

Nearly two-thirds of the 10.2 million unauthorized adult immigrants in the U.S. have lived in this country for at least 10 years and nearly half--4.7 million--are parents of minor children, according to a new Pew Hispanic Center study. "Unauthorized Immigrants: Length of Residency, Patterns of Parenthood" is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau's March 2010 Current Population Survey and Pew's analysis of the demographic characteristics of the unauthorized immigrant population.

The analysis found that 35 percent of unauthorized adult immigrants have resided in the U.S. for 15 years or more; 28 percent for 10 to 14 years; 22 percent for 5 to 9 years; and 15 percent for less than five years.

The share that has been in the country at least 15 years has more than doubled since 2000, when about 16 percent of the unauthorized adult immigrants had lived here for that duration, according to Pew. Meanwhile, the share of unauthorized adult immigrants who have lived in the country for less than five years has fallen by half over the same period (from 32 percent in 2000 to 15 percent in 2010).

Number crunchers deduced from the data that the sharpest growth for unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. came during the late 1990s and early 2000s, and that the inflow has obviously slowed down significantly in recent years. The U.S. economy sputtering and border enforcement tightening are credited with causing that.

According to Pew Hispanic Center's online description of the study, the characteristics of the undocumented population "have become a source of renewed interest in the wake of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's recent endorsement of a proposal to create a path for unauthorized immigrants to gain legal status if they have lived in the country for a long period of time, have children in the U.S., pay taxes and belong to a church."

Of course, that's blasphemy to several of Gingrich's opponents for the GOP presidential nomination.


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