When you break down the population in the United States, about 14% of people living in the country were born on foreign shores. They are immigrants. About half of them are now U.S. citizens, since they have gone through the naturalization process. The others may be permanent residents with a green card, or they may be visa holders.
These immigrants are an integral part of the U.S., especially when looking at the workforce. The development of the United States as a country has to be attributed, in many cases, to the contributions of immigrants. Even today, many immigrants form a significant portion of employees in forestry, fishing, farming and other agricultural industries. They also tend to work often in math and science fields or in computer and tech industries. Others work in construction, while some are small business owners.
The generational impact
But the above only looks at what today’s immigrants are doing. The reality is that many people who were born in the United States also came from immigrants initially.
In the 110 years after 1820, for instance, about 4.5 million people from Ireland came to the United States. If you just look at the statistics from 1820 to 1860, one out of every three U.S. immigrants was initially from Ireland.
But if someone immigrated from Ireland in the 1800s, they could easily have had children and grandchildren in the United States. Today, in 2024, this wide extended family may all consider themselves natural-born U.S. citizens, rather than immigrants. But the truth is that immigration is still responsible for their position in life and their contributions to the United States.
Are you thinking about immigrating in the coming year? It is a more complex system today than it was in the 1800s. Be sure you know what options you have.