Data On Immigrants and Refugees

This page has links to reports, statistics, maps, and other resources about immigrant and refugee communities in Seattle/King County, the state, and the nation. If you need more specific information on refugee placement in Washington State, we recommend going to the Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Data page of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.

Click one of the links below to jump to that section of the data list.

Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges: Career Pathways to Economic Stability & Quality Jobs for Seattle’s Immigrant and Refugee Workers & Professionals
Voices of Seattle's East African Communities: An Overview of Community Issues and Opportunities
Map and Charts of the Eligible to Naturalize Population
USC Eligible to Naturalize Interactive Map
Fact Sheet: Economic Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion and Costs of Discrimination and Isolationism
Seattle Immigrant and Refugee Data Sheet
Interactive map showing the global refugee crisis
Map the Impact - New American Economy
20 U.S. metropolitan areas with the largest number of unauthorized immigrants
Where Seattle's refugees come from and other things you should know
DSHS Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance (ORIA) Legislative Reports
Metropolitan areas with the largest number of residents born in "banned countries," 2011-2015
The Effects of Sanctuary Policies on Crime and the Economy
Seattle/King County Foreign-born Population Map
King County Refugee Population Map
Seattle/King County Foreign-born Population Map
Individual Refugee and Special Immigrant Visa Arrivals
The Economic Impact of Naturalization on Immigrants and Cities
The Political and Economic Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in the Evergreen State
The Costs of Brain Waste among Highly Skilled Immigrants in Washington State
How many Syrian and Iraqi refugees were settled in each state since 2012, in 3 maps
Department of Homeland Security Immigration Infographics

 

 

Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges: Career Pathways to Economic Stability & Quality Jobs for Seattle’s Immigrant and Refugee Workers & Professionals

Seattle City Council requested that OIRA conduct a study to explore the feasibility of establishing services in the city of Seattle for internationally-educated immigrants and refugees who are seeking professional occupations in the U.S. This report examines the state of the immigrant and refugee workforce and explores a range of issues including underemployment, the occupational and wage structure of the Seattle-King County workforce, and changing patterns of job mobility.

Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges

(To download the document, right-click, then select, "Save link as..." and then save to your computer.)

 

Voices of Seattle's East African Communities:
An Overview of Community Issues and Opportunities

Through an analysis of existing data, community-centered focus groups, and a series of one-on-one interviews, the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA) commissioned this report titled, "Voices of Seattle’s East African Communities." Consultant Aileen Balahadia facilitated this community-driven process with these goals:

  1. To inform and guide OIRA and the City of Seattle in order to better analyze policy and to improve services and support to the city’s diverse East African communities.
  2. To inform and guide community-based organizations (CBOs) serving East African individuals in their ability to more efficiently and effectively serve their communities, particularly in today’s nonprofit climate.
  3. To educate and inform community, public, and private partners of the current issues and opportunities in East African communities.

The report serves as a common framework from which both the community and the City of Seattle can work towards collective action. The white paper will inform city departments as they develop unique workplans specific to East African community needs.

 

Cover of the East African report.

The entire 78-page report.
Cover of the East African report executive summary.

The 8-page executive
summary of the report.


(To download the documents, right-click, then select, "Save link as..." and then save to your computer.)

 

Map and Charts of the Eligible to Naturalize Population

This map and charting tool is a visual depiction of data on the eligible to naturalize population. It was put together in April 2017 by DataKind for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the lead organization of the New Americans Campaign.

The source data for this tool was produced by the Center for Migration Studies of New York in November 2015.

newamericanscampaign.org/CitizenshipEligibleMap

Map of U.S. leading to the data site.

 

USC Eligible to Naturalize Interactive Map

This interactive map, created in March 2016, presents the University of Southern California Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration's latest estimates of the size and region-of-origin composition of eligible-to-naturalize adults in the U.S.

dornsife.usc.edu/csii/eligible-to-naturalize-map

Map of U.S. leading to the USC data site.

 

Fact Sheet: Economic Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion and Costs of Discrimination and Isolationism - Seattle Office of Economic Development

The Seattle Office of Economic Development calculated a number of statistics showing that an economy of inclusion and diversity is a more successful economy. For instance, naturalizing every undocumented immigrant in Washington state would grow the state’s GDP by $31.5 billion over 10 years.

14.3 million more people would be employed, 9.3 million fewer people would be living in poverty, and we would see a $1.3 trillion increase in national GDP.

 

Interactive map showing the global refugee crisis

Click below to see an interactive map displaying the immensity of the global refugee crisis. It transforms data and numbers into an engaging, hyper-visual depiction of refugee movement throughout the years to the present.

The researchers hope this map will help create more interest in crises affecting vulnerable communities around the globe. "Instead of mere observers, they become participants in making meaning of data. Then, they can work to answer the questions we really should be asking: Why does our worldview allow this sort of harm to exist? How can we work together to change the status quo for the better?"

mashable.com/2017/06/06/refugee-crisis-map-explorables

Interactive refugee map link.

 

Seattle Immigrant and Refugee Data Sheet

This data snapshot of Seattle's immigrant and refugee community lists a number of important statistics regarding the city's new arrivals and new Americans.

Icon for the Immigrant and Refugee Data Sheet Snapshot

(To download the data sheet, right-click, then select, "Save link as..." and then save to your computer.)

 

Map the Impact - New American Economy

On February 22, 2017, the City of Seattle joined with the bipartisan immigration advocacy coalition New American Economy (NAE) in their nationwide release of new research on the contributions of immigrants in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Metropolitan Area. The research, dubbed Map the Impact highlights the significant economic contributions of immigrants and the critical need for immigration reform .

newamericaneconomy.org/locations/

KUOW map of refugees stats coming to Seattle.

 

20 U.S. metropolitan areas with the largest number of unauthorized immigrants - Pew Research Center

According to this Pew Research Center report, Seattle is among the 20 U.S. metropolitan areas with the largest populations of undocumented/unauthorized immigrants. In the Seattle Metropolitan Area (that includes Tacoma and Bellevue), there are an estimated 150,000 people without legal status, which ranks as the 16th-largest population in the United States. Of those 150,000, Pew estimates that just 20,000 live within the city of Seattle. Unauthorized immigrants represent 3.9 percent of the total population in the Seattle area.

pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/09/us-metro-areas-unauthorized-immigrants/

Map of the U.S. featuring data hotspots of cities with large numbers of unauthorized immigrants

This Seattle Times article also analyzed the Pew Research Center's numbers and came up with this report:

seattletimes.com/seattle-news/data/pew-seattle-among-20-metro-areas-with-most-unauthorized-immigrants/

 

Where Seattle's refugees come from and other things you should know - KUOW News

KUOW News has this comprehensive story about the statistics and stories behind Washington's refugee communities.

kuow.org/post/where-seattles-refugees-come-and-other-things-you-should-know

KUOW map of refugees stats coming to Seattle. 
Graphic courtesy of KUOW/Kara McDermott

 

DSHS Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance (ORIA) Legislative Reports

Every year the DSHS Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance (ORIA) submits reports to the Washington State Legislature regarding the progress and status of their Refugee and Immigrant Employment Services and their Naturalization Services.

Naturalization Services Legislative Report

Refugee and Immigrant Employment Services Legislative Report

 

Metropolitan areas with the largest number of residents born in "banned countries," 2011-2015 - The Brookings Institution

The Brookings Institution analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau. They found that many places around the country, including Seattle, are home to immigrant populations from the countries targeted by Trump's February executive order.

brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2017/01/30/these-communities-have-a-lot-at-stake-in-trumps-executive-order-on-immigration/

Metropolitan areas with the largest number of residents born in “banned countries,” 2011-2015

 

The Effects of Sanctuary Policies on Crime and the Economy - Center for American Progress

This Center for American Progress study found that crime is statistically significantly lower in co-called sanctuary municipalities compared to nonsanctuary ones. Moreover, economies are stronger in sanctuary municipalities-from higher median household income, less poverty, and less reliance on public assistance to higher labor force participation, higher employment-to-population ratios, and lower unemployment. This report defines sanctuary counties as counties that do not assist federal immigration enforcement officials by holding people in custody beyond their release date.

americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/reports/2017/01/26/297366/the-effects-of-sanctuary-policies-on-crime-and-the-economy/

Chart showing that crime is generally lower in so-called Sanctuary Cities.

 

Seattle/King County Foreign-born Population Map - The Seattle Times

The Seattle Times used U.S. Census data to create this extensive map on the area's largest foreign-born populations.

seattletimes.com/seattle-news/data/a-spike-in-king-county-foreign-born-populations

Seattle Times map of foreign-born residents.

 

King County Refugee Population Map - The Seattle Times

The Seattle Times used U.S. State Department data to create this map on the area's refugee populations.

seattletimes.com/seattle-news/what-king-countys-refugee-populations-look-like-interactive-map/

Seattle Times map of refugee residents.

 

Seattle/King County Foreign-born Population Map - The Seattle Times

The Seattle Times used U.S. Census data to create this extensive map on the area's largest foreign-born populations.

seattletimes.com/seattle-news/data/a-spike-in-king-county-foreign-born-populations

Seattle Times map of foreign-born residents.

 

Individual Refugee and Special Immigrant Visa Arrivals - DSHS ORIA

Every month, the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance publishes this document listing how demographic information on how many refugees have been resettled in Washington State for this year 2015. You can compare each document to determine how many refugees have entered Washington State each month.

For instance, the September 2015 document shows the number of Burmese refugees was 257. The October 2015 document shows the number to be 261. This means that between 9/10/15 and 10/27/15, four Burmese refugees entered into the state.

 

 

The Economic Impact of Naturalization on Immigrants and Cities - New York City Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs and Citi Community Development

New York City Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) and Citi Community Development unveiled research in December 2015 conducted by the Urban Institute on the economic effects of naturalization on immigrants and their local economies. Some of the top findings of the report titled The Economic Impact of Naturalization on Immigrants and Cities includes:

  • If all of the eligible immigrants across the 21 U.S. cities studied were to become citizens, their increased employment rate and earnings would generate millions in new tax revenues.
  • Naturalization may lead to an average increase in individual earnings of 8.9%, or $3,200, in the first year after becoming a U.S. citizen.
  • The effects of naturalization may cause the cost to local governments of providing public benefits to either remain relatively steady or actually decrease.
  • Nearly 9 million immigrants across the country are currently eligible to naturalize but have not yet done so, and less than 10% of them do so per year.

You can download the full report here.

Grap showing economic outcomes by naturalization status.

 

Immigrants and Business - Ethnic Business Coalition

The Seattle-based Ethnic Business Coalition is committed to developing, promoting, and improving the long-term growth, sustainability, and success of immigrant and minority-owned small businesses in Washington State. They have a number of national and local stats about immigrant businesses.

ethnicbusinesscoalition.org/facts-figures/

  • From 2006 to 2010, there were 45,696 new immigrant business owners in Washington.
  • In 2010, 15 percent of all business owners in Washington were foreign-born.
  • In 2010, new immigrant business owners had a total net business income of $2.4 billion, which is 13.1 percent of all net business income in the state.
  • In 2010, the foreign-born share of business owners was 19 percent in the Seattle metropolitan area.
  • In the case of Seattle, the immigrant business ownership rate was higher than the foreign-born share of the total population.

The Office of Economic Development also developed this infographic based off of the Ethnic Business Coalition information.

Percent of businesses owned by immigrants or refugees nationwide

 

The Political and Economic Power of Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in the Evergreen State - American Immigration Council

This American Immigration Council report outlines the economic and electoral growth of immigrants in Washington, especially foreign-born Latinos and Asians.

immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/new-americans-washington

New Americans in Washington Fact Sheet

Immigrants and their children are growing shares of Washington’s population and electorate.

  • The foreign-born share of Washington’s population rose from 6.6% in 1990, to 10.4% in 2000, to 13.5% in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Washington was home to 943,664 immigrants in 2013, which is more than the total population of Jacksonville, Florida.
  • 46.3% of immigrants (or 436,834 people) in Washington were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2013—meaning that they are eligible to vote.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 3.3% of the state’s population (or 230,000 people) in 2012, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • 13.2% (or 467,799) of registered voters in Washington were “New Americans”—naturalized citizens or the U.S.-born children of immigrants who were raised during the current era of immigration from Latin America and Asia which began in 1965—according to an analysis of 2012 Census Bureau data by the American Immigration Council. 

 

The Costs of Brain Waste among Highly Skilled Immigrants in Washington State - Migration Policy Institute

Migration Policy Institute fact sheet about "brain waste" in immigrant communities. Brain waste describes the situation when college graduates cannot fully utilize their skills and education in the workplace despite their high professional qualifications.

The Costs of Brain Waste among Highly Skilled Immigrants in Washington State

Chart displaying "brain waste" in Washington state.

 

How many Syrian and Iraqi refugees were settled in each state since 2012, in 3 maps - The Washington Post

This Washington Post article looks at Syrian refugee resettlement in states across the nation.

washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/11/16/how-many-syrian-and-iraqi-refugees-are-already-in-each-state-in-3-maps/

Syrian refugee resettlement map by state

 

Mapping Immigration Infographics - Department of Homeland Security

The gallery in the link below contains infographics produced by the Office of Immigration Statistics to make data provide by Department of Homeland Security components more readily available to the public. Infographics describe key immigration topics such as the number and characteristics of lawful permanent residents, refugees and asylees, naturalizations, nonimmigrant admissions, and immigration enforcement actions.

dhs.gov/immigration-statistics/visualization/2015

DHS Mapping Immigration Infographics

Banner photo credit: Nate Gowdy Photography.