If you’re an immigrant to the U.S. who calls California home (or is hoping to), you probably already know that we have more immigrants than any other state – some 11 million. About a fourth of all foreign-born people living in the U.S. are here in California. Further, about 50% of all children in California have at least one parent who’s an immigrant.
These numbers, recently published, are from 2019. That’s the latest year for which data is available.
The legal status of California’s immigrants
Contrary to what you might hear some people say, the majority of immigrants in California are here legally. Over half are naturalized U.S. citizens. Another quarter is here on a green card or visa. The percentage of undocumented immigrants, which make up about 22% of the immigrant population, has been declining over the past decade.
Who makes up California’s foreign-born population?
Half of the immigrants living in California are from Latin America. Most of them are from Mexico. The next largest group (39%) is from Asia. Asians make up the majority of recent immigrants. They’re primarily from the Philippines, China, Vietnam and India
Almost three-fourths (70%) of immigrants say they’re proficient in English. However, most immigrants say they speak their native language at home.
Education levels vary from not having finished high school to having a bachelor’s degree or higher. However, the percentage of foreign-born Californians with a bachelor’s degree isn’t that much lower than the number of Californians born in the U.S. with that degree (32% and 38%, respectively). Over three-fourths (78%) of Californians say that our state benefits from the valuable job skills and good work ethic that immigrants bring.
If you have a family member seeking a U.S. visa or want to continue down the road to being an American by becoming a U.S. citizen, an experienced immigration attorney can help make the process less daunting.