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2018 Lawful Permanent Residents : who came to the United States ?

Each year, more than one million people around the world obtain lawful permanent resident status in the United States. This series of maps and visualizations highlights the regions and countries of birth of these people who received a green card in 2018.

Morgane Bougouin
Morgane Bougouin

Aug 19, 2020 - 6 minutes read

Legal permanent residents (LPRs) are non-citizens who are lawfully authorized to live permanently within the United States, also known as green card recipients. Across the world, more than one million people obtain this status each year.

We were interested in the data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in order to highlight the regions and countries of origin of these people who received a green card in 2018.

Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Region and Country of Birth in 2018

In 2018, 1,096,611 persons were granted refugee Lawful Permanent Resident status in the United States. North America and Asia are leading regions of birth of these green card recipients, respectively 38% and 36% in 2018, and have accounted for at least 70 percent of new LPRs each year over the last decade.

Region Green Card recipients Percentage
North America 418,980 38.28%
Asia 397,180 36.29%
Africa 115,735 10.57%
Europe 79,126 7.23%
South America 78,876 7.21%
Oceania 4,638 0.42%

Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Region and Country of Birth in 2018 - Graph
Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Region and Country of Birth in 2018 - Graph

If we look more closely at the countries of origin of these lawful migrants, Mexico comes by far first with nearly 14.8% of green cards granted. The top seven countries in this 2018 ranking were also the top countries of birth of new LPRs over the past 10 years, together accounting for 45% of new LPRs during this period.

Rank Country Green Card recipients Region Name Percentage
1 Mexico 161,858 North America 14.79%
2 Cuba 76,486 North America 6.99%
3 China, People’s Republic 65,214 Asia 5.96%
4 India 59,821 Asia 5.47%
5 Dominican Republic 57,413 North America 5.25%
6 Philippines 47,258 Asia 4.32%
7 Vietnam 33,834 Asia 3.09%
8 El Salvador 28,326 North America 2.59%
9 Haiti 21,360 North America 1.95%
10 Jamaica 20,347 North America 1.86%

Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in 2018 - Map
Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in 2018 - Map

Green card recipients figures region by region

North America

Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in North America in 2018 - Map
Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in North America in 2018 - Map

The leading region of birth of new Green Card recipients (38.3%) in 2018 was North America, including the Caribbean and Central America. In 2018, 14.8% of all persons granted Legal Permanent Resident were born in Mexico, which has been the leading source of new LPRs each year since 1978. In this ranking, Cuba follows Mexico with 7% of new LPRs in 2018.

Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in North America in 2018 - Graph
Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in North America in 2018 - Graph

Asia

Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in Asia in 2018 - Map
Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in Asia in 2018 - Map

Asia was the second region of birth of new LPRs in 2018 with 36.2% of green card beneficiaries. The 3rd and 4th in the ranking of countries of birth of new LPRs in 2018 were China (5.9%) and India (5.5%).

Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in Asia in 2018 - Graph
Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in Asia in 2018 - Graph

Africa

Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in Africa in 2018 - Map
Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in Africa in 2018 - Map

Africa represented 10.6% of Green Card recipients in 2018. Nigeria, ranked 19th, was the first African country in the ranking with 1.3% of new LPRs, and Ethiopia, ranked 22nd was granted 1.1% of the Green Cards.

Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in Africa in 2018 - Graph
Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in Africa in 2018 - Graph

Europe

Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in Europe in 2018 - Map
Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in Europe in 2018 - Map

In 2018, Europe accounted for 7.2% of Green Card recipients. Ukraine, first European country in the ranking, came 24th with 1.1% of Green Card recipients, and the United Kingdom, ranked 29th represented 0.9% of new LPRs.

Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in Europe in 2018 - Graph
Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in Europe in 2018 - Graph

South America

Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in South America in 2018 - Map
Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in South America in 2018 - Map

South Amercia represented 7.2% of Green Card recipients in 2018. Colombia, ranked 12th, was the first South Amercian country in the ranking with 1.6% of new LPRs 19th, and Brazil, ranked 16th was granted 1.6% of the Green Cards.

Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in South America in 2018 - Graph
Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Country of Birth in South America in 2018 - Graph

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