• aila American
  • seal Michigan
  • us U.S. Court
    of Appeals
    Sixth Circuit

New Statistics on the Trends of U.S. Permanent Residents

a firework sparkler and American flag during the Fourth of July

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Immigration Statistics, over 990,000 foreign nationals were granted U.S. permanent residence (“green cards”) in 2013. These statistics provide helpful insight into the countries from which the majority of immigrants are coming, the categories they are using to apply, and the states in which they are choosing to live.

The most popular category in 2013 for new green cards, and leading at 66%, were family sponsorship applications. Almost half of this group fell within the immediate relative category for spouses, parents, and children (including adopted orphans) of U.S. citizens. The next largest group for family-sponsored green cards was the family-based, second preference (F2) category for spouses and minor children of permanent residents.

Also in 2013, 16% of new permanent residents obtained their status through employer sponsorship. The majority of these cases were filed in either the employment-based, second or third preference (EB2 or EB3) categories. A smaller number, 12.1%, obtained green cards by filing as refugees or asylums. The annual diversity visa lottery accounted for 4.6% of new permanent residents. Fewer than 2% of applicants became permanent residents in 2013 through a variety of other miscellaneous categories.

As for the countries from which these permanent residents originated, the top countries in 2013 were Mexico (13.6%), China (7.2%), and India (6.9%). These countries were followed by the Philippines (5.5%), the Dominican Republic (4.2%), Cuba (3.3%), Vietnam (2.7%), and South Korea (2.3%). These statistics reveal the astonishing diversity of the United States, with the remaining top countries each comprising 2.1% or less of new permanent residents. Included in this group are Colombia, Haiti, Jamaica, El Salvador, Nigeria, Pakistan, Canada, Ethiopia, Nepal, United Kingdom, Iran, and Burma (Myanmar). This still leaves 35% of new permanent residents who came from other countries throughout the world.

However, there was a decrease in the number of new permanent residents in 2013, as compared to 2012. The decrease of 4% was primarily tied to lower numbers of family-based cases. But, there was an overall increase in employment-based permanent residents from the previous year.