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Foreign born

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Title: Foreign born  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Demographic history of New York City, Bergen County, New Jersey, Hudson County, New Jersey, Immigrant generations, Person-to-person
Collection: Employment of Foreign-Born, Human Migration
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Foreign born

Foreign born (also non-native) people are those born outside of their country of residence. Foreign born are often non-citizens, but many are naturalized citizens of the country that they live in and others are citizens by descent, typically through a parent.

The term foreign born encompasses both immigrants and expatriates but is not synonymous with either. Foreign born may, like immigrants, have committed to living in a country permanently or, like expatriates, live abroad for a significant period with the plan to return to their birth-country eventually.

The status of foreign born — particularly their access to citizenship — differs globally. The large groups of foreign born guest workers in the Gulf States, for example, have no right to citizenship no matter the length of their residence. In Canada and the United States, by contrast, foreign born are often citizens or in the process of becoming citizens. Certain countries have intermediary rules: in Germany and Japan it is often difficult but not impossible for the foreign born to become citizens.


  • Trends by country 1
  • Cities with largest foreign born populations 2
  • Metropolitan regions with largest foreign born populations 3
  • Miscellaneous regions with high percentage of foreign born population 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Trends by country

The percentage of foreign born in a country is the product mostly of immigration rates, but is also affected by emigration rates and birth and death rates in the destination country. For example, the United Kingdom and Ireland are destination countries for migrants from Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia, but are themselves source countries for immigration to other Anglosphere countries. The countries with the highest rates of immigration are wealthy countries with relatively open nationality or migration laws including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and the Persian Gulf States.

The largest foreign-born population in the world is in the United States, which was home to 39 million foreign-residents in 2012, or 12.6% of the population.[1] The highest percentage of foreign-born residents occurs in small, wealthy countries with large numbers of temporary foreign workers, such as the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, the population of each is, depending on the economy at the time, around 80%.[2] In 2010, the Migration Policy Institute reported that the largest percentages were Qatar (86.5%) and UAE (70%).[3]

Cities with largest foreign born populations

Rank City Country Estimate Source Foreign-Born Population
1 New York City  United States 2011 ACS 3,066,599[4]
2 London  United Kingdom United Kingdom Census 2011 2,998,264[5]
3 Toronto  Canada Canada 2011 Census 1,512,230
4 Los Angeles  United States 2011 ACS 1,489,640
5 Houston  United States 2011 ACS 593,412
6 Chicago  United States 2011 ACS 579,127
7 Montreal  Canada Canada 2011 Census 536,738
8 Paris  France INSEE 436,576
9 San Jose  United States 2011 ACS 378,867
10 San Diego  United States 2011 ACS 350,768
11 Dallas  United States 2011 ACS 310,142
12 Vancouver  Canada Canada 2006 Census 260,760[6]
13 Milan  Italy Istat 2011 236,855[7]
14 Ottawa  Canada Canada 2006 Census 178,545[8]
15 Birmingham  United Kingdom United Kingdom Census 2011 177,045
16 Boston  United States 2010 United States Census 167,311
17 Washington DC  United States 2010 United States Census 83,429

Metropolitan regions with largest foreign born populations

Rank[9] City Country Foreign-Born Pop
1 New York metropolitan area  United States 5,117,290
2 Los Angeles metropolitan area  United States 4,407,353
3 London and Home Counties  United Kingdom 4,051,502[5]
4 Hong Kong (SAR)  Hong Kong 2,793,450
5 Toronto metropolitan area  Canada 2,512,373[10]
6 Paris metropolitan area  France 2,429,223[11]
7 Miami metropolitan area  United States 1,949,629
8 Sydney Greater Statistical Area  Australia 1,759,1298
9 Chicago metropolitan area  United States 1,625,6499
10 Singapore (city only)  Singapore 1,305,011
11 San Francisco metropolitan area  United States 1,201,209
12 Moscow (city only)  Russia 1,128,035
13 Houston metropolitan area  United States 1,113,875
14 Metropolitan Dubai  United Arab Emirates 1,056,000
15 Riyadh (city only)  Saudi Arabia 1,054,000
16 Washington metropolitan area  United States 1,017,432
17 Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex  United States 1,016,221

Miscellaneous regions with high percentage of foreign born population

Rank> City Country Percent Largest Source of Immigrants
1 Dubai  United Arab Emirates 82  India
2 Luxembourg City  Luxembourg 66 [12]  France
3 Santa Ana, CA  United States 53  Mexico
4 Daly City, CA  United States 52  Philippines
5 Toronto  Canada 52* [13]  Europe  People's Republic of China  India  Philippines
6 Miami  United States 51 [14]  Cuba
7 Queens, NY  United States 48  People's Republic of China /  India
8 Muscat  Oman 45  India
9 Singapore  Singapore 43  Malaysia  People's Republic of China  India Europe
10 Vancouver  Canada 40  Hong Kong
11 Geneva   Switzerland 39  Portugal[15]
12 Auckland  New Zealand 39  United Kingdom
  • Toronto was estimated to be higher at the 2011 census. After Statistics Canada, the national statistics agency, made the National Household Survey optional following the 2006 census it was estimated that minority groups would be less likely to respond to the survey. Furthermore, the statistics are less likely to represent the large communities of temporary foreign workers and international students in Toronto.[16]

See also


  1. ^ United States Census Bureau. Current Population Survey - March 2012 Detailed Tables, Table 1.1. Accessed September 6, 2014.
  2. ^ "UAE flatly rejects citizenship for foreign workers". 
  3. ^ "Data Hub". 
  4. ^ "2011 American Community Survey: New York City Foreign Born Population". Retrieved 2013-01-07. 
  5. ^ a b "2011 Census: Key Statistics for local authorities in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. 
  6. ^ "Community Profiles from the 2006 Census, Statistics Canada - Census Subdivision". 13 March 2007. 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ "Community Profiles from the 2006 Census, Statistics Canada - Census Subdivision". 13 March 2007. 
  9. ^ "Data Hub". 
  10. ^ "2006 Census: Immigration in Canada: A Portrait of the Foreign-born Population, 2006 Census: Immigrants in metropolitan areas: Vast majority of immigrants chose city life". 4 December 2007. 
  11. ^  
  12. ^ "Luxemburger Wort". 
  13. ^ "National Household Survey (NHS) Profile, 2011". 
  14. ^ "Miami-Dade County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". 
  15. ^ Mémento statistique du canton de Genève 2010, p. 1
  16. ^ "National Household Survey: Immigration dramatically changing makeup of Toronto and Canada". 8 May 2013. 

External links

  • ForeignBorn - a resource for entering and living in the USA
  • USA Census Bureau on foreign born population
  • Luxembourg – Country Summary
  • Migration article from U.C. Davis
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