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Each year, millions of people from countries around the world immigrate to the United States, ranging from tourists visiting for a couple of weeks to workers coming for a job to refugees escaping persecution. The number of people coming to the US, where they come from, and why they come has changed significantly over time.

The reasons why people immigrate to the US have changed in recent years. In 2015, 987,894 student visas were issued. That figure fell 27.6% to 714,885 in 2018. During the same period, the number of work visas — including both skilled and unskilled workers — increased 16.4% from 762,473 to 887,528.

Asylees and refugees, migrants who flee their countries due to danger or persecution, make up a small segment of immigrants. In 2018, there were 61,092 refugees and asylees who settled in the US, down 42.2% from the 105,350 migrants approved in 2016.

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In 2018, there were 44.7 million foreign-born residents of the United States, representing 13.6% of the population. That same year the naturalized population overtook the number of immigrants without citizenship for the first time.

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Check out the immigration issues page to explore more data on the foreign-born population.

Nonimmigrant Visa Statistics
Yearbook of Immigration Statistics