The number of undocumented immigrants in San Bernardino County increased between 2001 and 2008, according to a report the Public Policy Institute of California released on Tuesday.
The report is the first of its kind to track how many undocumented immigrants live in each county – previous reports have tracked the number statewide. The PPIC’s report showed in 2001 there were roughly 100,000 illegal immigrants in San Bernardino County. By 2008 that number increased to 150,000, or about 7.5 percent of the county’s population.
Overall, the state of California increased its illegal immigration population slightly from roughly 2.7 million in 2001 to about 2.9 million in 2008 – the entire United States has about 11 million illegal immigrants. California’s illegal immigrants make up about 7 percent of the total California population and 9 percent of the state’s labor force, according to the report.
According to the report, four counties or county groupings had illegal immigrants make up more than 10 percent of the total population. In 22 counties, undocumented immigrants made up less than 5 percent of the population – Monterey and San Benito counties had the largest percentage at 13.5 percent and Shasta County had the smallest percentage at 0.6 percent.
Despite San Bernardino County’s increases, the state’s most populated areas have seen a decrease over that same time frame.
Los Angeles County, for example, had 8,000 fewer undocumented immigrants between 2001 and 2008. Orange County had 60,000 fewer and Santa Clara County had 61,000 fewer. Alameda, Marin and San Francisco counties also lost illegal immigrants from 2001 to 2008, whereas Riverside and Kern counties joined San Bernardino County in adding them.
“After many years of increases, the number of California’s unauthorized immigrants has remained stable or even declined slightly recently,” according to the report. “At the same time, the number living in other states has increased substantially compared to California.”
While California’s increase was not that much from 2001 to 2008, and according to the Department of Homeland Security, the state had 250,000 fewer illegal immigrants in 2009 than in 2008, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina had the highest rates of growth. California has had around 3 million illegal immigrants since 2000, whereas all other states have had roughly a combined 8 million since 2000.
The report also said that in 1980, approximately half of the nation’s illegal immigrants lived in California but by 2008, that amount fell to about 26 percent. The report tracks illegal immigrants by ITIN filings, which are federal tax filings for people without Social Security numbers. Economists estimate that about 80 percent of illegal immigrants have filed federal returns.
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