Nearly 14% of the U.S. population was born in another country, numbering more than 44 million people in 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
This was the highest share of foreign-born people in the United States since 1910, when immigrants accounted for 14.7% of the American population. The record share was 14.8% in 1890, when 9.2 million immigrants lived in the United States.
The foreign-born population in the U.S. grew substantially during the late 1800s, when immigration from Europe and elsewhere brought millions of new residents to the nation’s shores. In the 1920s, the U.S. adopted a series of more restrictive immigration laws, eventually leading to the establishment of a national-origin quota system in 1924 and a subsequent decline in the foreign-born share of the nation’s population. That immigration system was not changed until 1965, when the Immigration and Nationality Act created the same overarching immigration laws that the U.S. still uses today. Since 1965, at least 59 million immigrants have come to the United States.