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State Has Fewer Illegal Immigrants
From Newsday
February 4, 2003

By Mae M. Cheng

While the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States doubled between 1990 and 2000, New York State's share of the population diminished, according to newly-released Immigration and Naturalization Service estimates.

INS officials said undocumented immigrants in the United States increased from 3.5 million in 1990 to 7 million in 2000 largely due to the growing population of Mexicans, many of whom enter illegally.

The number of undocumented Mexicans soared from slightly more than 2 million in 1990 to 4.8 million in 2000, making them an even larger proportion of the illegal immigrant population.
The INS estimates, released Friday, are based on data from Census 2000 and from INS records.

While New York City has witnessed a growing Mexican community, many of the other groups that make up much of its immigrant population have not seen a significant increase in their undocumented numbers. So the city's share of illegal immigrants has decreased.

"Our immigration deviates from the nation's," said Joseph Salvo, a demographer with the Department of City Planning. "The nation is driven by Mexico and we're not. By and large, our immigration is driven by the Caribbean and increasingly Asia."

The latest INS estimates show New York State's undocumented population grew 37 percent to 489,000 in 2000, from 357,000 in 1990, giving it the third largest number of illegal immigrants. However, its share of the nation's undocumented population decreased from 10.2 percent in 1990 to 7 percent in 2000. The vast majority of the state's undocumented people live in the city, demographers say.

Despite the large increase in New York State's undocumented population, the greatest growth was found in California, Texas, Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina, according to the INS.

The INS estimates that on average, the undocumented population grew by 350,000 annually between 1990 and 2000. About a third of the undocumented immigrants currently here are people who overstayed their visas, officials said.

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