Illinois has one of the largest populations of illegal immigration in the nation. The Pew Research Center estimated
that 475,000 unauthorized immigrants live in the state. This puts Illinois among the top 10 states in terms of large immigrant populations. Only New York, New Jersey, Florida, Texas and California have higher numbers.
While those numbers are high, they mark a decrease in the overall illegal immigration numbers for Illinois in recent years. Undocumented immigrants in Illinois are estimated to account for about 3.7 percent of the state’s total population.
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The Migration Policy Institute noted
that about 72 percent of the unauthorized population in the state was born in Mexico. Illegal immigrants from India make up about 4 percent of the estimate, Poland 3 percent, Guatemala 2 percent, and China 2 percent. Most of these illegal immigrants are thought to have been in the state more than five years. More than 30 percent are thought to have been in the United States for more than 15 years. About 43,000 undocumented children are enrolled in the public school system in Illinois.
Many of these undocumented immigrants are able to live and work in communities that allow them to maintain their native languages. About 48 percent of the undocumented workers living in Illinois speak English either “not at all” or “not well.” Three-quarters of unauthorized immigrants in Illinois speak Spanish in the home.
The Migration Policy Institute also noted that most of the undocumented immigrants in Illinois are uninsured (60 percent) and live at or near the poverty level.
A 2014 study of the undocumented immigrant population in Illinois completed by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
found slightly more than half of the state’s illegal immigration population is in the suburban areas of Chicago. An additional third live in the city of Chicago.
About 58 percent of the undocumented population is young workers ages 25 to 44.
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