Immigrants make up an increasing share of the state’s population. In 2010, about 27% of Californians were foreign-born, more than double the percentage as the nation as a whole.
Of the more than 10 million people in California who are foreign-born, 46% are naturalized citizens, 29% are legal non-citizens, and 25% are unauthorized immigrants. California has a higher share of unauthorized immigrants—just under 7%—than any other state.
Between 1940 and 2010, the number of foreign-born California residents increased more than tenfold, from a little less than 1 million to 10 million.
For decades, California was the most popular immigrant destination. In 1990, California was home to one-third of the immigrant population in the nation. Since then, the state’s popularity has waned. Today, one-quarter of the nation’s immigrants live in California.
Mexico is the leading country of origin, accounting for 42.5% of California’s foreign-born population, followed by the Philippines and China. California has fewer immigrants from the Caribbean, Europe, and South America than the nation as a whole.
As a general trend over the past decade, immigrants from Asia have begun to arrive in California at a faster rate than those from Mexico. Looking only at those immigrants who have arrived after 2000, almost 41% were from Asia and almost 39% were from Mexico. Asians have also recently passed Latinos as the largest group of new immigrants to the United States as a whole.