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New York Immigration Statistics

July 16, 2020

I would like to share excellent research by the Immigration Council related to immigration in New York: the number of immigrants, their origins, their contributions to society! Below are the quotes from their report:

“New York is often considered one of the greatest cultural hubs in the country, having welcomed immigrants long before the days of Ellis Island. Immigrants now account for nearly one-quarter of the state’s total population and make up more than one-fourth of its labor force. As neighbors, business owners, taxpayers, and workers, immigrants are an integral part of New York’s diverse and thriving communities and make extensive contributions that benefit all.

Nearly a quarter of New York residents are immigrants, while almost one-fifth of residents are native-born U.S. citizens with at least one immigrant parent.

  • In 2018, 4.4 million immigrants (foreign-born individuals) comprised 23 percent of the population.
  • New York was home to 2.3 million women, 2 million men, and 206,980 children who were immigrants.
  • The top countries of origin for immigrants were the Dominican Republic (11 percent of immigrants), China (9 percent), Mexico (5 percent), Jamaica (5 percent), and India (4 percent).
  • In 2018, 3.6 million people in New York (18 percent of the state’s population) were native-born Americans who had at least one immigrant parent.

Nearly three in five immigrants in New York are naturalized U.S. citizens.

  • 2.6 million immigrants (58 percent)had naturalized as of 2018, and 890,099 immigrants were eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens in 2017.
  • Three-fourths (75 percent) of immigrants reported speaking English “well” or “very well.”

Immigrants in New York are distributed across the educational spectrum.

  • One-third (33 percent) of adult immigrants had a college degree or more education in 2018, while nearly a quarter (24 percent) had less than a high school diploma.  
Education LevelShare (%) of All ImmigrantsShare (%) of All Natives
College degree or more3339
Some college1826
High school diploma only2526
Less than a high school diploma248
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2018 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates.

Over half a million U.S. citizens in New York live with at least one family member who is undocumented.

  • 725,000 undocumented immigrants comprised 15 percent of the immigrant population and 4 percent of the total state population in 2016.
  • 1.2 million people in New York, including 547,802 U.S. citizens, lived with at least one undocumented family member between 2010 and 2014.
  • During the same period, about one in 12 of children in the state was a U.S. citizen living with at least one undocumented family member (351,146 children in total).

New York is home to over 28,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.

  • 28,910 active DACA recipients lived in New York as of 2019, while DACA has been granted to 118,860 people in total since 2012.
  • As of 2019, 36percentof DACA-eligible immigrants in New York had applied for DACA.
  • An additional 20,000 residents of the state would satisfy all but the educational requirements for DACA, and fewer than 2,000 would become eligible as they grew older.

About one in four workers in New York is an immigrant, together making up a vital part of the state’s labor force in a range of industries.

  • 2.8 million immigrant workers comprised 28 percent of the labor force in 2018. 
  • Immigrant workers were most numerous in the following industries:
IndustryNumber of Immigrant Workers
Health Care and Social Assistance604,741
Accommodation and Food Services301,593
Retail Trade284,432
Educational Services232,726
Transportation and Warehousing224,796
Source: Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.
  • The largest shares of immigrant workers were in the following industries:
IndustryImmigrant Share (%)
(of all industry workers)
Transportation and Warehousing39
Other Services (except Public Administration)36
Accommodation and Food Services35
Construction34
Health Care and Social Assistance33
Source: Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.


Immigrants are an integral part of the New York workforce in a range of occupations.

  • In 2018, immigrant workers were most numerous in the following occupation groups:
Occupation CategoryNumber of Immigrant Workers
Transportation and Material Moving280,354
Sales and Related266,206
Office and Administrative Support262,142
Healthcare Support250,294
Management232,654
Source: Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.
  • The largest shares of immigrant workers were in the following occupation groups:
Occupation CategoryImmigrant Share (%)
(of all workers in occupation)
Healthcare Support49
Building and Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance43
Construction and Extraction37
Transportation and Material Moving35
Personal Care and Service33
Source: Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.
  • Undocumented immigrants comprised 5 percent of New York’s workforce in 2016.

Immigrants in New York have contributed tens of billions of dollars in taxes.

As consumers, immigrants add well over a hundred billion dollars to New York’s economy.

  • New York residents in immigrant-led households had $120.5 billion in spending power (after-tax income) in 2018.

Immigrant entrepreneurs in New York generate billions of dollars in business revenue.

  • 348,547 immigrant business owners accounted for 34 percent of all self-employed New York residents in 2018 and generated $7.8 billionin business income.
  • In the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island metropolitan area in 2018, nearly one-third (31 percent) of business owners were immigrants.”

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