Nevada has top share of unauthorized immigrants | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada has top share of unauthorized immigrants

Michelle Rindels
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — The number of immigrants who are in Nevada illegally dropped by about 20,000 people from 2009 to 2012. But Nevada still has the largest share of any state of unauthorized immigrants in its total population, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.

The study, released Tuesday, examines migration trends among the estimated 11.2 million people who were in the U.S. illegally in 2012. The overall number has held steady from 2009, but 14 states saw their unauthorized immigrant population decrease and seven saw it increase.

While unauthorized immigrants accounted for 3.5 percent of the U.S. population of nearly 316 million in 2012, the share varied from less than 1 percent in 10 states to a high of 7.6 percent in Nevada. California and Texas, each at 6.3 percent, had the next-highest shares of people living there illegally.

Among the report's other findings:

—17.7 percent of Nevada students in kindergarten through high school have at least one unauthorized immigrant parent. That's the highest share of any state in the country, and well ahead of California and Texas, where the figure is around 13 percent. Pew reports that about 5.5 percent of American students have at least one unauthorized parent but are U.S.-born, legal residents themselves. An estimated 1.4 percent of schoolchildren are themselves in the country illegally.

—10.2 percent of Nevada's labor force consists of unauthorized immigrants. That's also the highest share of any other state. Unauthorized immigrants are more likely than the overall U.S. population to be of working age, researchers said, which is partly why the unauthorized-immigrant share of the labor force is higher than its share of the population overall.

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—Mexicans account for 69 percent of unauthorized immigrants in Nevada. They accounted for 52 percent of people in the U.S. illegally overall, which is down from 56 percent in 2009.

Pew researchers said they continue to see a drop in the number of Mexican-born unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. They attribute it both to fewer new arrivals from Mexico and more people leaving the U.S. for Mexico.

At the same time, the U.S. saw relatively small gains in the number of unauthorized immigrants from Central America, the Caribbean, Asia and the rest of the world's nations.

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