A decade ago, Mexico was the most common source for new immigrants in America. An analysis of census data by the Pew Charitable Trusts finds that in 37 states, most newcomers are from Asian countries: China, India, Singapore, Japan, and Vietnam. Pew Charitable Trusts staffer Tim Henderson chews over the data and finds that today’s newest immigrants are more likely to arrive legally and with college or higher degrees. Henderson writes,
Much of the shift can be attributed to economic reasons. During the U.S. housing boom, still in full swing in 2005, many Mexican immigrants came to work in construction. But the housing bust and recession, plus stricter border enforcement and better job prospects in Mexico, reduced the flood to a trickle. Meanwhile, a booming job market for people with technical and scientific skills has drawn increasing numbers of immigrants from India and China.
Today’s newest immigrants are more likely to arrive legally and with college degrees than a decade ago, said Jeanne Batalova, a senior policy analyst at Migration Policy Institute who is working on an upcoming report that will highlight the financial advantages of having skilled immigration for state and local government. One reason is stepped-up border enforcement, which has discouraged unauthorized, unskilled laborers from crossing the southern border of the U.S. in search of work.