Slate points out that immigrants were a larger portion of the U.S. population 100 years ago. This is pretty intuitive, considering how the late-19th and early-20th century waves of immigration are widely taught. However, we are relatively close to that historical high today (13 percent as opposed to 15 percent).
An interesting factoid in the immigration debate is that Americans hugely overestimate how much of the U.S. population is made of immigrants. I’ve only ever seen this question asked by one survey, the Transatlantic Trends Immigration survey (the latest results for which are 2011– they didn’t seem to release one in 2012).
To go over the facts again: The foreign-born population of the U.S. in recent years has been around 13 percent.
People think that somewhere between 35 and 40 percent of the people living in the United States are foreign born — about three times what the number…
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