June 10, 2016: New Jersey's Foreign-Born Population and their Period of Entry

In this week’s post, we will explore New Jersey’s foreign-born population by their period of entry into the United States. As we mentioned last week, the United States is currently in the midst of an unprecedented wave of immigration, as more foreign-born individuals have lawfully immigrated to the United States from 2000 to 2014 than in any other 15-year period in the nation’s history.[i] However, total immigration numbers from the most recent 5-year period for which data is available (2010-2014) are slightly smaller than those from 2005 to 2009, indicating a slight tailing off from the historic pace.

The 2010-2014 5-year American Community Survey estimates that 7.1% of the foreign-born population in the United States in 2010-2014 entered in 2010 or later.[ii] In the same period, 6.9% of foreign-born residents in New Jersey entered in 2010 or later, indicating New Jersey is relatively on-par with the nation as a whole.[iii] However, recent immigrants comprise much larger proportions of the total foreign-born population in other states.

The map below shows that immigrants who entered in 2010 and later comprise significant proportions of the total immigrant population in many Midwestern states, while they comprise much less of the total immigrant population of states such as California, New Mexico, Nevada, and Illinois. This is not to say that Midwestern states shaded in orange are receiving greater total numbers of immigrants every year. Rather, the point is that relatively more foreign-born individuals have settled in these states in the past five years than in previous periods. In other words, immigration has grown faster in the past five years in states shaded orange than states shaded white or blue. We might think of these states as hot-spots of recent immigration. Certain economic or policy changes may have resulted in these states seeing increased numbers of foreign-born residents settling within their boundaries.


The same phenomenon of recent immigration hot-spots can be seen when looking at neighborhoods in New Jersey. In the map below, neighborhoods (census tracts) are shaded to indicate the proportion of the total foreign-born population comprised of residents who entered in 2010 or later, with higher proportions in orange, lower proportions in blue, and proportions around the state average (6.9%) in white. Using this method, it is easy to pick out the neighborhoods in dark orange, in which recent immigrants comprise a large proportion of the immigrant population. These neighborhoods tend to be located in the southern and central parts of the state, with a few scattered throughout the northeast. These neighborhoods become even clearer to observe when you filter by a somewhat arbitrary proportion entered in 2010 or later of, say, 25.0%.

We can also see that the likelihood of recent immigration may depend on the world region immigrants predominantly come from. Neighborhoods in which recent immigrants comprise large proportions of the total foreign-born population tend to be predominated by immigrants from world regions such as Asia, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, rather than Europe. The world region of foreign-birth will be the topic of focus for our post next week. Until then, explore the map below to draw your own conclusions. 


[i] U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Yearbook of Immigration Statistics. www.dhs.gov/yearbook-immigration-statistics.

[ii] U.S. Census Bureau 2010-2014 American Community Survey. Table DP02.

[iii] Ibid.