Who Obtained a 'Green Card' Last Year? The 2012 Statistics Are Here!

The US Department of Homeland Security released its report on US legal permanent residents (LPR) who acquired their 'green card' in 2012. LPRs are individuals who intend to make the United States their permanent home and hold many rights conferred to US citizens, such as the right to work and study anywhere in the USA. Unlike US citizens, they cannot vote or hold certain key government jobs, but LPRs who meet certain eligibility criteria can apply to become US citizens after living in the US for the required time period.

Who are the new immigrants to the United States and what is the LPR profile for the year that has just passed?

The statistics show that just over 1 million individuals became LPRs in 2012 (1,031,631), a figure which is consistent with the number of new US immigrants for the previous two years. Slightly more women (54 .7%) than men (45 .3%) immigrated to the USA, with the bulk of immigrants being married (58 .3%). Most new immigrants were aged 25 to 34 (24 .1%), closely followed by the 15 to 24 year old age bracket (18 .4%) and the 35 to 44 age category (18.1%).

The number of new LPRs is fairly evenly divided between those who were already in the USA and changed their status from a non-immigrant to an immigrant category (53.1%), and those who were new arrivals to the USA (46.9%).

LPRs by Immigration Categories

US immigration laws permit an individual to immigrate through family, employment, the diversity visa lottery, asylum/ refugee status, and other lesser used categories (such as qualifying children born abroad to LPRs). By far, the largest category of immigrants acquired their LPR status through family-based immigration (66%), with the bulk of those 'green cards' going to the spouses, parents, and children under 21 of United States citizens (46.4%).

Employment-based immigration accounted for 14% of total immigrants, with most 'green cards' in this category going to professionals with advanced degrees (4.9%).

Refugees and asylees made up 14.6% of LPR holders, and Diversity Visa Lottery 'winners' accounted for 3.9% of the total.

LPRs by Region and Country of Origin

Most new LPRs were born in Asia (41 .6%), followed by North America (31 .8%), Africa (10 .4%), and Europe (7.9%).

When examining new LPRs by country of birth, most are originally from Mexico (14 .2%), followed by China (7 .9%), India (6 .4%) and the Philippines (5.6%).

Where do new immigrants settle in the USA?

Most new immigrants settle in California (19 .1%), followed by New York (14 .5%), Florida (10%) and Texas (9 .3%). The remainder of States on the statistics list account for less than 5% of new immigrants' State of settlement.

Immigrants who settle in metropolitan areas opt, by far, for the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA area (17.4%). This is followed by Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA (7.9%) and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL (6.4%). The remainder of metropolitan areas account for less than 4% of new immigrant settlement destinations.

The American Immigration Law Office is a US immigration law firm in London, UK, handling immigrant and non-immigrant visas to the USA. Contact the firm to schedule your consultation today!