Unauthorized Immigrants in Europe and the U.S.: Trends, Characteristics and Methods

Jeffrey S. Passel , Pew Research Center
Phillip Connor, Pew Research Center

This paper presents estimates of the unauthorized immigrant population in EU-EFTA countries (including the UK) and compares them with similar estimates for the US and constituent states. Initial estimates for EU-EFTA are significantly smaller than for the US in terms of numbers and shares of total population for recent years (2014-2017); the US has a higher proportion of Noncitizens who are unauthorized, however. Trends over time differ with the US showing consistent declines from a peak in 2007 and EU-EFTA showing an increase for 2014-2016 followed by a leveling off. We also provide comparisons for countries of origin, age-sex composition and duration of residence for the regions and largest constituent areas. The US estimates are based on a residual method; estimates for EU-EFTA countries use a variety of methods (residual, demographic components, regularization, proportional ratio) drawing on similar work done for the Clandestino project a decade ago and more recent efforts by European researchers. The paper presents details of the estimation methods and also addresses the definition of unauthorized immigrant population in terms of groups included and excluded —clandestine entrants, visa overstayers, asylum seekers awaiting a final decision, groups with temporary protection (TSP and DACA in the US; Duldung in Germany) and other groups with subsidiary protection, plus native-born children of other groups.

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 Presented in Session 67. Migration Measures: Methodological Issues