Center for Migration Studies Reports Decline of the US Undocumented Population

New York, NY – In a critical new report released today, the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) finds that the US undocumented population has fallen below 11 million for the first time since 2004.  The report also offers evidence that the Mexican-born undocumented population continues to decline, falling by more than 600,000 since 2010.  The paper further describes trends in the undocumented population over the past few years for selected countries of origin and states of residence. 

Major findings in the report include:

  • The total US undocumented population continued to decline in 2014, and has fallen by more than a million since 2008;
  • The undocumented population in the majority of US states declined after 2008; however, eleven states reached their maximum population in 2014, including Texas;
  • With the exception of Alabama and possibly Georgia, restrictive state immigration laws in 2010-2011 had little impact on undocumented population trends;
  • The Mexican-born undocumented population was about 600,000 smaller in 2014 than it was in 2010;
  • About 250,000 fewer undocumented immigrants from Mexico lived in California in 2014 compared to 2010; and
  • From 1980 to 2014, the legally resident population from Mexico grew faster than the Mexican undocumented population.

The annual estimates for 2010 to 2014 were derived by CMS based on statistics on the foreign-born population collected in the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). The estimates for years prior to 2010 are based on estimates published in CMS’s International Migration Review (Warren and Warren, 2013), and are available upon request.

“Despite the claims of an ever-rising, out-of-control US undocumented population,” said Donald Kerwin, CMS’s Executive Director, “the number of undocumented has fallen each year since 2008.  In addition, the number and percentage of foreign-born persons with legal status has increased. These trends should be applauded by partisans on all sides of the immigration debate.”

To download the report, “US Undocumented Population Drops Below 11 Million in 2014, with Continued Declines in the Mexican Undocumented Population,” visit

In addition, the Supreme Court announced yesterday that it will hear the case brought by 26 states challenging the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) programs. For an earlier CMS analysis of the DACA- and DAPA-eligible in 2013, visit

CMS is one of the member of the Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN), a global network of 270+ entities that provide services to migrants, including shelters and welcoming centers in receiving communities.