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Study: America is home to more immigrants than any other country in the world


Nearly 20 percent of world's migrants live in the US

John Moore/Getty Images

More immigrants live in the U.S. than any other country in the world, according to a recent study.

In 2017, more than 44.4 million foreign-born residents, or 18 percent of the world's migrant population, were living in America, the Pew Research Center reported. The numbers are based on the latest U.S. Census data available.

In a survey of 18 countries, the U.S. topped the list in 2017 for the number of residents who have migrated from other countries.

Germany and Russia followed the U.S. with about 5 percent each of the world's migrant population at 12.1 million and 11.6 million, respectively.

Mexico, Greece, Poland, and Hungary hold the lowest numbers of foreign-born residents with less than 1 percent each of the world's migrant population.

Table showing the 2017 size of immigrant populations in the countries included in Pew Research Center's survey.

What is the public view of immigrants?

About 59 percent of adults in the U.S. have a favorable view of immigrants living in the country, according to the Pew Center.

But 34 percent believe immigrants are a burden in the U.S. because they take jobs from Americans and receive social benefits. That number marks a significant change since the mid-1990s when 63 percent of Americans believed immigrants burdened the country.

Most adults in Hungary, Greece, South Africa, Russia, and Israel see foreign-born residents as a burden to their countries. The opinion of immigrants among adults in the Netherlands is divided.

Chart showing that half or more in many destination countries view immigrants as a strength rather than a burden.

The view of immigrants among six European countries has shifted since 2014, which was the last time the Pew Center asked the question of Europeans.

"It was also before hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers arrived on Europe's shores in 2015," the Pew Center noted. "In Greece, Germany and Italy, three countries that experienced high volumes of arrivals, the share of adults saying immigrants make their countries stronger dropped significantly."

Public support for immigrants increased in France, Spain, and the U.K. since 2014. Each of the countries saw fewer asylum-seekers in 2015.

Table showing that views on the impact of immigrants in Europe have shifted since 2014.

Should illegal immigrants be deported?

Overall, the majority adults in the 18 countries surveyed support the deportation of illegal immigrants.

The greatest support for came from those in Greece and Russia, at 86 percent and 81 percent, respectively.

Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands followed with more than 70 percent stating that illegals should be removed.

The U.S. and Mexico showed the least support deporting illegal immigrants, although Americans were closely split.

"About half (46%) of the public supports deporting immigrants residing there illegally, while the other half (47%) opposes their deportation," the report showed.

And fewer than 43 percent in Mexico support the removal of illegal immigrants. Mexico has experienced an influx of migrants from Central America; however, the country is historically a migrant-sending nation.

Chart showing that half or more of the public in several countries included in the survey support deporting immigrants living in their country illegally.

"About 12 million people born in Mexico live outside the country, nearly all in the U.S.," according to the Pew Center. "Among those in the U.S., nearly half are unauthorized immigrants."

What else?

Ideologically, those on the left viewed illegal immigrants more favorably than those who are more conservative.

Chart showing that immigrants are viewed more favorably among those on the ideological left.
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