U.S. May Have Twice as Many Illegal Immigrants as Previously Reported: Study

According to a joint study by Yale and MIT, the number of illegal migrants in the United States could be twice of what was previously estimated.


The number of illegal migrants in the United States could be double of what is generally accepted, according to a recent study by researchers from Yale University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  

The number of illegal migrants in America could be anywhere between 16.7 million and 22 million, according to Yale Insights.

The researchers used mathematical modeling on a range of demographic and immigration operations data and estimated that there are 22.1 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, the report said. Using parameters aimed at producing an extremely conservative estimate, they found a population of 16.7 million undocumented immigrants.

The U.S. government and most groups put the number of illegal immigrants at around 11 million to 12 million, Fox News reported.  

The study will give ammunition to President Donald Trump and immigration critics to harden their stance on immigration. Trump has been saying that the real number of illegal migrants in the United States could be as high as 30 million.  

The researchers used data on deportations, border apprehensions, and visa overstays, along with death rates and immigration rates, to come to the figure. The estimate is based on data from 1990 to 2016. 

“Our original idea was just to do a sanity check on the existing number,” Edward Kaplan, Professor of Operations Research at the Yale School of Management, said in a statement. “Instead of a number which was smaller, we got a number that was 50 percent higher. That caused us to scratch our heads.” Kaplan conducted the study with colleague Jonathan Feinstein and MIT’s Mohammad Fazel-Zarandi. 

“There’s a number that everybody quotes but when you actually dig down and say, ‘What is it based on?’ you find it’s based on one very specific survey and possibly an approach that has some difficulties. So, we went in and just took a very different approach,” Feinstein said in the statement.   

The study also found that the crime rate for illegal immigrants may be lower than previously believed. The government wants immigration curtailed because it believes that apart from taking away jobs from the locals, immigrants are also involved in crime, and this study can put to rest that belief.

‘“You have the same number of crimes but now spread over twice as many people as was believed before, which right away means that the crime rate among undocumented immigrants is essentially half whatever was previously believed,” Kaplan said. 

According to researchers, the estimate of 11.3 million migrants living in the United States is based on census survey data. The 11.3 million number is extrapolated from the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey. “It’s been the only method used for the last three decades,” Fazel-Zarandi said.   

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