There are more than 20 million immigrant women and girls in the United States today, and they are a formidable presence in U.S. society and the U.S. economy. Immigrant women come from every corner of the globe and slightly outnumber immigrant men. They are more likely than men to come to the United States through the family-based immigration system, and nearly half are naturalized U.S. citizens. More than a quarter of immigrant women have a bachelor’s degree or more education, with women from India being the most highly educated, followed by those from the Philippines and China. Foreign-born women account for 15 percent of all employed women over the age of 16 in the United States. In fact, women from the Philippines, El Salvador, Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, and Guatemala have higher rates of participation in the labor force than native-born women. Immigrant women work in every occupation, with one-third being in management and professional occupations, while nearly a third work in service occupations and under a quarter in sales and office occupations. Despite their hard work and educational achievements, immigrant women earn less than foreign-born men, and less than native-born men or women. Given their numbers and diversity, however, the scale of their economic contributions cannot be denied. Mexico is the Single Largest Country of Origin for Female Immigrants

  • Mexico accounted for more than one-quarter (26 percent) of all foreign-born females in 2012, followed by China at 6.1 percent, the Philippines at 5.3 percent, and India at 4.5 percent .
  • In a sign of their diverse range of national origins, more than two-fifths (or 42.9 percent) of foreign-born females came from countries other than the top 10 .

Figure 1: Female Foreign-Born Population by Country of Origin, 2012Immigrant Females Slightly Outnumber Immigrant Males

  • There were 20.9 million female immigrants in the United States in 2012, accounting for just over half (51.3 percent) of the total foreign-born population. Similarly, females accounted for roughly half (50.7 percent) of the native-born population.
  • Immigrants accounted for slightly more than 13 percent of the female population.
  • Males outnumbered females among immigrants from Mexico, India, El Salvador, and Guatemala .
  • Among immigrants from China, the Philippines, Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Canada, females outnumbered males .

Figure 2: Foreign-Born Population by Gender & Select Countries of Origin, 2012

  • The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that 4.1 million unauthorized-immigrant women comprised approximately 39 percent of the adult unauthorized population in the United States in 2008.2 This is in line with a 2009 survey of immigrant women by New America Media, which found that 35 percent of respondents identified themselves as undocumented.3

Source: The Immigration Policy Center. “Immigrant Women in the United States: A Portrait of Demographic Diversity.” The Immigration Policy Center presented a great article about the presence of immigrant women in the United States. Due to its length, we will be sharing this data in segments; here is the first one please share your comments and thoughts with us.