Immigration Research and Information

For answers to the most common questions about U.S. immigration, see our Quick Statistics on U.S. immigration. For more context, search the  Immigration Research Library, which contains more than 1,300 studies from respected research institutions across the United States. One such respected institution is the Institute for Immigration Research, a joint venture between The Immigrant Learning Center and George Mason University. If you’re looking for some more specific data, you can request a free,  personalized fact sheet. If you want to stay updated on The Immigrant Learning Center’s research, webinars and other projects, sign up for our newsletter.

Recent Research

Immigrant Essential Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic report cover

The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute has published the research report Immigrant Essential Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic. The report reveals the critical contributions of immigrant essential workers and their impact on all Americans. It also shares the obstacles that put foreign-born workers at unnecessary risk and prevented them from making their full contribution. The project offers strategies that would benefit all Americans in a future public health crisis. You can download the executive summary and the report here.

Featured Research from The ILC Immigration Research Library

National Bureau of Economic Research logo

Study finds that the presence of immigrant students in a school does not negatively affect the academic performance of U.S.-born students

Immigration rates have risen significantly in the United States over the past 50 years, with nearly 25 percent of public school students coming from an immigrant household in 2015. Using school records from the State of Florida, including the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) and Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics, the authors find that immigrant students do not negatively affect the performance of U.S.-born students, and in fact have a positive effect, particularly for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Migration Policy Institute logo

Report examines the potential role of foreign-trained immigrant health care professionals in alleviating the shortage of health care workers in the U.S.

This report examines how 270,000 immigrant and refugee health workers whose skills are underutilized might help the U.S. meet its demand for health care workers. The authors believe that the professional, language, and cultural skills of internationally trained health professionals, many of whom are unemployed or working in low skilled jobs, represent a critical resource for the nation. The paper discusses lessons learned during the pandemic by states that used their governors’ executive authority to temporarily suspend or adjust licensing requirements to boost the ranks of available immigrant workers in health services. Although efforts to address licensing, placement, training, and educational barriers facing internationally trained health care professionals are primarily the responsibility of state government, the authors argue that the federal government should provide leadership and funding for reforms in this area.

Institute for Immigration Research

The Institute for Immigration Research (IIR), a joint venture between The Immigrant Learning Center and George Mason University, produces interdisciplinary research on immigrants and immigration to the United States. Projects include studying Immigrant Nobel Prize winners, mapping immigrant populations, surveys of high-skilled immigrant professionals, Twitter analyses of the immigration discussion and more. The IIR also offers free customized datasheets through Immigration Data on Demand.

Latest Research: Immigrant Workers and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, workers in certain industries in the United States have been critical to keeping the country’s residents healthy and safe, and keeping the economy open. Many of these workers have endured difficult and dangerous conditions, working in close proximity to each other and to the public, and have been especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. Many of these workers, often dubbed “essential workers,” are foreign-born. In fact, immigrant workers have been important during the pandemic and will continue to play a key role in rebuilding the economy post-pandemic.

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Immigration Data on Demand

Immigration Data on Demand (iDod) provides information to academics, policy-makers and the public with unbiased and objective research related to immigrants and immigration in the United States. This service is provided free of charge to help individuals and institutions examine the immigrant populations of their particular geography.


Working Together book cover

October 2019

Working Together: How Community Colleges and Their Partners Help Immigrants Succeed

Published by Rowman & Littlefield and the American Association of Community Colleges

This book showcases exemplary initiatives of community colleges and their partners to integrate immigrant and refugee students, and the ways these students enrich campus life, strengthen communities and benefit the economy. The chapter Reflective Narrative: How Community Colleges can Reframe the Immigration Narrative was written by The ILC Public Education Institute Director Denzil Mohammed.

Immigrant Struggles, Immigrant Gifts book cover

January 2013

Immigrant Struggles, Immigrant Gifts

Published by George Mason University Press

Edited by The ILC founder and CEO Diane Portnoy, Barry Portnoy and Charlie Riggs, Immigrant Struggles, Immigrant Gifts chronicles the experience of 11 immigrant groups in the U.S. written by 11 experts in their respective fields.

Massachusetts Research

Massachusetts Immigrants by the Numbers, Second Edition

March 2012

Massachusetts Immigrants by the Numbers, Second Edition: Demographic Characteristics and Economic Footprint

Fast Facts

Full Report (PDF)

First Edition Full Report, 2009 (PDF)

Immigrant Homebuyers cover

December 2005

Immigrant Homebuyers in Lawrence and Lowell, Massachusetts: Keys to the Revitalization of Cities

Full Report (PDF)

Entrepreneurship Research

Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Growing Industries cover

APRIL 2013

Immigrant Entrepreneurs Creating Jobs and Strengthening the U.S. Economy in Growing Industries: Transportation, Food and Building Services
with a Regional View of Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania and a Focus on the Green Economy

Fast Facts
Full Report  (PDF)

Immigrant Entrepreneurs cover

January 2012

Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the Economy

Full Report (PDF)

Adult Children of Immigrant Entrepreneurs cover

November 2011

Adult Children of Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Memories and Influences

Fast Facts

Full Report (PDF)

Massachusetts Immigrant Entrepreneur cover

November 2010

Massachusetts Immigrant Entrepreneurs
Engines for Economic Growth, Wealth and Job Creation

Fast Facts

Full Report (PDF)

The Rise of Asian-Owned Businesses in Massachusetts cover

June 2007

The Rise of Asian-Owned Businesses in Massachusetts

Fast Facts

Full Report (PDF)

December 2005

Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Neighborhood Revitalization: Studies of the Allston Village, East Boston and Fields Corner Neighborhoods in Boston

Fast Facts

Full Report (PDF)

June 2007

Immigrant Entrepreneurs in the Massachusetts Biotechnology Industry

Fast Facts

Full Report (PDF)

JUNE 2016

Immigrants in Health Care: Keeping Americans Healthy Through Care and Innovation

Fast Facts

Full Report (PDF)

June 2010

Impact of Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Workers in Leisure and Hospitality Businesses: Massachusetts and New England

Fast Facts

Full Report (PDF)

Immigrant workers in the Massachusetts Health Care Industry

March 2009

Immigrant Workers in the Massachusetts Health Care Industry: A Report on Status and Future Prospects

Fast Facts

Full Report (PDF)

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