The foreign-born population includes anyone who is not a U.S. citizen at birth. This includes those who have become U.S. citizens through naturalization. Everyone else constitutes the native-born population, composed of anyone who is a U.S. citizen at birth, including people born in the United States, in Puerto Rico, in a U.S. Island Area (American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), or abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents.
Nativity status refers to whether a person is native or foreign born.
The U.S. Census Bureau uses the term foreign born to refer to anyone who is not a U.S. citizen at birth. This includes naturalized U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents (immigrants), temporary migrants (such as foreign students), humanitarian migrants (such as refugees and asylees), and persons illegally present in the United States.
The Census Bureau collects data from all foreign born who participate in its censuses and surveys, regardless of legal status. Thus, unauthorized migrants are implicitly included in Census Bureau estimates of the total foreign-born population, although it is not possible to tabulate separate estimates of unauthorized migrants or any other legal status category.
The Census Bureau uses the terms native and native born to refer to anyone born in the United States, Puerto Rico, a U.S. Island Area (American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or the U.S. Virgin Islands), or abroad of a U.S. citizen parent or parents.
The Census Bureau uses the term generational status to refer to the place of birth of an individual or an individual’s parents. Questions on place of birth and parental place of birth are used to define the first, second, and third-or-higher generations. The first generation refers to those who are foreign born. The second generation refers to those with at least one foreign-born parent. The third-or-higher generation includes those with two U.S. native parents.
The Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement includes two questions on parental place of birth, one on mother’s place of birth and a second on father’s place of birth. These data are used to determine generational status.
The Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics publishes statistics and reports based on administrative data, such as the number of persons obtaining legal permanent resident status, refugees and asylees, naturalizations, nonimmigrant admissions, and enforcement actions.
The Census Bureau collects and publishes survey data on the characteristics of the foreign born resident in the United States, such as country of birth, year of entry, citizenship status, and the size of the population.
The Census Bureau does not collect data on the legal status of the foreign born. However, the American Community Survey and Current Population Survey each include a question on citizenship status, which can be used to divide the foreign-born population into naturalized citizens and noncitizens.
For assistance, please contact the Census Call Center at 1-800-923-8282 (toll free) or visit ask.census.gov for further information.
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