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Report · September 1996

Undocumented Immigration to California: 1980-1993

Hans Johnson

California leads every state in the nation as a destination for undocumented immigrants.  The Immigration and Naturalization Service estimates that almost half of the undocumented population in the United States resides in California.  Yet, the precise numbers remain elusive, and estimating the annual change in the size of this population is even more difficult.  Using a variety of data and assumptions about population change, the author develops the first systematic estimates of annual changes in the net flow of undocumented immigrants to California.  Although the range of the various estimates is sizable, the pattern over time is consistent across a widely differing set of assumptions.