The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued an Annual Flow Report, listing statistics for those who were granted lawful permanent residence status (green cards) in 2014.
The report is divided into sections describing the gender and age breakdown, immigration category (family, employment, etc.), country of origin and US residence.
The report shows that the majority (63.5%) of new permanent residents in 2014 immigrated using a family-based category. Another 15% were granted green cards based on an employment relationship, 13% were refugees/asylees and the remainder were miscellaneous categories such as diversity, Haitian Refugees, etc.
The employment and family groups can be subdivided, as each category has multiple sub-sections as follows:
Within the family category, Immediate Relatives usually account for about 40% of new permanent residents every year, and were 41% in 2014. 57% of the immediate relatives were spouses, making up 24% of all new permanent residents.
The chart below shows how the numbers of Immediate Relatives have increased since 2012, whereas other family categories have seen a decrease.
In the employment-based categories, the vast majority of green cards go to the first three preference categories, with EB-4 and EB-5 accounting for just about 20,000 individuals.
REGION AND COUNTRY OF BIRTH
More Asians received permanent residence in 2014 (430,508) than people from any other region. Next was North America (including Caribbean, Central America and other North America), which received 324,354 green cards.
The country that received the most green cards was Mexico (13%) followed by India (7.7%) and China (7.5%). The percentage from Mexico was down 1% from 2012, whereas Indians increased by 1.3%. China has stayed more or less the same.
STATE OF RESIDENCE
Not surprisingly, more new permanent residents (20%) live in California than any other state. Within California, the Los Angeles area has the highest number of new residents (8% of the total US permanent residents), followed by San Francisco (3.2%).
The state with the second-highest percentage (14%) of new residents is New York. As a metropolitan area, New York-New Jersey has far higher numbers of new residents than any other: 174,714 (17%) compared to the 80,527 (8%) in Los Angeles, in second place.
nGENDER AND AGE
New permanent residents have historically been younger that people born in the US. In 2014, the median age of the US native population was 37 years, and the median age of new permanent residents was 32.
More new green cards were issued to people in the 25-34 age group (25%), followed by those aged 35-44 (19%).
The number of female new permanent residents is slightly higher than male (54%), and this is also slightly higher than the female percentage of native-born Americans, which is 51%.
Finally, 58.5% of new residents were married as compared with 38% of the native population.
Elaine Martin has been practising US and global immigration law since 1997. She is an immigrant herself (from Ireland), so has a special understanding of the legal and emotional challenges involved in relocating to a new country.