Idaho has experienced a recent surge in illegal immigration. While many states across the nation have seen an increase in illegal immigration in the past 25 years, Idaho was one of only seven states that saw growth in unauthorized immigrant populations from 2009 to 2012. That is according to the Pew Research Center Hispanic Trends report
Idaho’s undocumented immigrant population surged by about 30 percent during that time.
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Idaho still has a relatively low undocumented immigrant population compared to other states. The Migration Policy Institute estimated
that about 31,000 unauthorized immigrants live in that state. Since Idaho’s total population is about 1.6 million, that means illegal immigration accounts for less than 2 percent of the total population of the state. By comparison, California's undocumented immigrant population is estimated at about 2.5 million. California has a total population of 38.8 million, which puts its illegal immigrant population at about 6 percent of the total population.
The great majority (86 percent) of the undocumented population of Idaho is thought to be from Mexico and Central America. About 53 percent of those do not speak English fluently, or don’t speak English at all. The most common language spoken at home for undocumented immigrants in Idaho is Spanish (81 percent). Most of the illegal immigrants are working in agriculture, construction or manufacturing.
The total foreign-born population of Idaho, including legal immigrants and those who have become naturalized citizens was about 95,000 in 2013, according to the Immigration Policy Center
. The economic impact of Latino residents of Idaho was estimated at $3.34 billion in 2014. More than 4,000 new business owners in Idaho between 2006 and 2010 were immigrants.
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According to the U.S. Census Bureau
, almost 12 percent of Idaho residents in 2013 identified as Hispanic or Latino.
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