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.

Upcoming Research

The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute is researching the role and impact of immigrant essential workers during the pandemic, with a focus on the health care and food sectors. Immigrants are highly represented in these two fields, which have been vital to getting all Americans through this crisis. The research project will explore the critical contributions of immigrant essential workers and their impact on Americans and local communities. You can learn more about the project here. You can also sign up for updates here.

Featured Research from The ILC Immigration Research Library

Immigration’s Contribution to Population Growth and Economic Vitality

Immigration has been a major contributor to U.S. population growth and economic growth for most of the last 50 years. However, international migration, the number of people moving to the United States minus the number moving abroad, declined precipitously between 2016 and 2019. The drop in international migration, combined with falling birth rates, resulted in what may have been the slowest decade of population growth in U.S. history and does not include the additional decline between 2019 and 2020 connected to COVID-19. The slowdown in population growth portends slower economic growth since population growth is central to long-run economic growth. This study examines the components of population growth during the 2010s and how they are related to employment growth. The study focuses on differences between metro areas (classified here as counties that are part of a metropolitan or micropolitan statistical area) and rural areas.

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 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: Leading Through Creativity and Innovation: The 2020 Nobel Laureates, MacArthur and Schmidt Science Fellows, and Immigrant Scientists in Search of a COVID-19 Vaccine

In 2020, none of the Nobel Prize winners from the United States are foreign-born individuals. However, four of this year’s 12 Laureates are foreign born and have been associated with U.S. research institutions or universities at some point in their careers. In addition, four of the 21 MacArthur Fellows and at least four of the 22 Schmidt Science Fellows are foreign born and living in the United States. Moreover, immigrants are among the scientists and researchers working to find a COVID-19 vaccine. This report profiles all of these high-achieving immigrants.

Immigration chart

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)

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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