Immigration Facts
Summary Demographic State Data (and Source)
Population (2012 CB est.) 5,884,563
Population (2000 CB est.) 5,296,486
Foreign-Born Population (2012 CB est.) 839,336
Foreign-Born Population (2000 CB est.) 518,315
Share Foreign-Born (2012) 14.3 %
Share Foreign-Born (2000) 9.1%
Naturalized U.S. Citizens (2012 CB est.): 392,727
Share Naturalized (2012) 46.8 %
Legal Immigrant Admission (DHS 2001 – 2012) 241,440
Refugee Admission (HHS 2000 – 2012) 21,895
Illegal Alien Population (2010 FAIR est.) 295,000
Costs of Illegal Aliens (2009 FAIR) $1,724,340,178
Projected 2050 Population (2006 FAIR) 7,674,000

State Population

According to the Census Bureau, the population of Maryland in 2012 was 5,884,563 residents.

Between 2000 (population 5,296,486) and 2012, the state's average annual population change was 48,006 residents. That was an annual average change of 0.9 percent. The comparable national annual rate of change was 0.9 percent.

Between 1990 (population 4,781,468) and 2000, the state's annual average population change was 51,502 residents. The annual average rate of change was 1 percent compared to the national rate of change of 1.2 percent.

Foreign-Born Population

According to the Census Bureau the foreign-born population of Maryland was about 839,336 persons in 2012. This estimate meant a foreign-born population share of 14.3 percent. The chart above shows the long-term change in the state's foreign-born population based on Census Bureau data.

Foreign-Born Change

Between 2000 and 2012 the Census Bureau estimate indicates an average annual rate of change in the foreign-born population of about 26,205 people, compared to the state's annual average population change of about 48,006  people. That is a 65.0  percent share of the state's population change (not including the children born in the United States to illegal aliens). The foreign-born population grew by 61.9 percent between 2000 and 2012.

Immigration also contributes to population growth through the U.S.-born children of immigrants. Nationally the share of births to the foreign-born is about double their share of the population. A 28.6 percent share of the state's current births is large enough to account for about 21,030 births a year. Combining the average increase in the foreign-born population and estimated immigrant births suggests that immigration may account for about 47,235 persons added to the state's population annually, i.e., nearly 98.4 percent of the state's overall population increase.

As of 2012 about 48.5 percent of Maryland's foreign-born population had arrived in the state since 2000. This compares with the national average 40.9 percent. In 2000, 44.1 percent of the state's foreign-born population that had arrived since the previous Census.

Foreign-Born Characteristics

An indicator of the change in Maryland's immigrant population may be seen in data on the share of the population over five years of age that speaks a language other than English at home. Between 2000 and 2012, the share of non-English speakers changed from 12.6 percent to 17.2 percent. In 2000, 39.6 percent of those persons in also said they spoke English less than very well. In the 2012 estimate, the share was 37.4 percent that spoke English less than very well. In 2012 Spanish speakers were 41.5 percent of those who spoke other than English at home, and 50.6 percent of those who spoke English less than very well.

The chart above shows the regional composition of the state's foreign-born population and how it has changed from between 2000 and 2012.


Census Bureau data in 2012 indicate that 392,727 residents of Maryland, or 46.8 percent of the foreign-born population in Maryland, were naturalized U.S. citizens, compared to 234,711 residents, or 45.3 percent, in 2000.

Nationally, 40.3 percent of the foreign-born population was naturalized in 2000, and 45.8 percent in 2012.

Net International Migration (NIM)

Data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), the Census Bureau estimated that between 2000 and 2012, the change in Maryland's population resulting from net international migration has been about 45,150 people. It was 48.6 percent of total change (not including the children born to the immigrants after their arrival in the United States). 1   The remainder was due to net domestic migration and natural change (births minus deaths).


  1. A negative percentage results when there was an overall population decrease. A percentage greater than 100 percent results when domestic migration is negative, i.e, a net loss from interstate migration.

Immigrant Admissions

Recent "green card" recipients who intend to reside in Maryland were 524 percent above admissions just after adoption of the current immigration system in 1965. During the 1965 to 1969 period, annual admissions averaged about 4,198 persons. During the most recent five years, annual admissions averaged about 26,197 persons. Immigrant admissions data are from the Yearbook of Immigration Statistics.

The chart above shows recent immigrant admissions and the cumulative amount of immigrant admissions since FY'65. The cumulative total of immigrant admissions to Maryland between fiscal years 1965 and 2012 has been 682,398 persons.

The data for fiscal years 1989-91 were artificially raised by the inclusion of former illegal aliens who were amnestied in 1986. According to INS data (1991) the number of amnesty applicants from Maryland was 11,840 (8,085 pre-1982 residents and 3,755 agricultural workers). These data were published by the Immigration and Naturalization Service and reported in "Report on the Legalized Alien Population," March 1992.

Admissions by Nationality: FY'96 - FY'05

The table below furnishes INS data by nationality on the immigrants who were admitted for residence in Maryland between 1996 and 2005.

The INS data are for nationals of the countries with the largest number of immigrants admitted or adjusted to legal residence each year since 1996. The absence of data means that the total number of admissions to the United States by nationals of that country was not enough to merit detailed reporting in that year.

The Department of Homeland Security website has detailed data on immigrant admissions since FY'03 by year and by source country and intended state of residence. (See then select the desired year, click Legal Permanent Residents, data and then select "supplemental table 1."

Chart of Immigrant Admission by Fiscal Year


Maryland has received 21,895 refugees over the most recent ten fiscal years including 1,239 refugees in fiscal year 2012. The chart above shows the annual admissions over the last ten years and the cumulative total of those admissions using data complied by the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The U.S. government program that distributes new refugees among the states is the only immigration program that provides state governments the opportunity to participate in deciding how many newcomers will come to that state each year.

Illegal Aliens

Maryland Fiscal Costs
Due to Illegal Aliens
           ($M) (Pct.)
K-12 educ. $946.4 51.0%
LEP educ. $313.6 16.9%
Medicaid+ $202.2 10.8%
SCHIP $28.7 1.5%
Justice $177.0 9.5%
Welfare+ $54.7 2.9%
General $105.5 5.7%
Total $1,856.0  
Tax receipts $118.6  
Net Cost $1,737.4  
Source: "The State Cost Studies"

FAIR Estimate - FAIR estimates the illegal alien population of Maryland as of 2010 was about 295,000 persons. This is part of an overall estimate of the U.S. illegal alien population of about 11,900,000 persons.

DHS Estimate - The current estimate by DHS of the illegal alien population in Maryland was n/a in 2012. The DHS estimate is available for only the 10 states with the largest illegal alien populations. The DHS estimate of the national illegal alien population in 2012 was 11,430,000.

Other Estimates - The Pew Hispanic Center estimates the illegal alien population of the state at 275,000 as of 2010.

Fiscal Cost of Illegal Aliens

FAIR's most recent estimate of the cost outlays due to illegal immigration and tax receipts from illegal aliens in Maryland are as shown on the right:

Limited English Proficiency Students

Data are not available nationally on immigrant students (either legally or illegally resident in the United States) who are enrolled in primary and secondary schools (K-12). However, a large majority of these students enrolled in Limited English Proficiency/English Language Learning (LEP/ELL) instruction programs may be assumed to be children of either legal or illegal immigrants with a predominance of children of illegal aliens.

In Maryland, LEP public school enrollment in 2010 ( 49,574) was 237.7 percent of LEP enrollment a decade earlier. By contrast, overall K-12 enrollment in the state was 100.2 percent of enrollment a decade earlier.

Population Projection

FAIR projected Maryland's population in 2050 likely would be between 7,255,000 million and 7,674,000 million with current levels of immigration. Alternatively, the population could be lower (6,074,000) if immigration were reduced to a level where it balanced the number of U.S. residents leaving to reside outside of the United states, i.e., zero-net immigration. See "Projecting the U.S. Population to 2050: Four Immigration Scenarios," FAIR 2006.

Foreign Students

Data compiled by the Institute of International Education (IIE) record the number of foreign students attending post-secondary school in Maryland as 15,522 in 2013.

The chart above illustrates the change in the number of foreign students attending school in Maryland since 1997.

For information on foreign student issues see: Foreign Students in the United States.

Immigration Impact

Sanctuary Policies

City or County


Resolution No. 03-1122 (May 19, 2003)

  • “The City Council urges Baltimore Police to: refrain from enforcing immigration matters, which are entirely the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security. No city service will be denied on the basis of citizenship….”

Resolution No. 11-0298R (June 13, 2011)

  • Baltimore opposes ICE Secure Communities Initiative and urges the State to call for a suspension of the program, which it believes will create divisions in communities, promote a culture of fear, and discourage trust between local law enforcement and immigrant communities throughout the City.

Montgomery County

Memorandum to Police Chief (February 10, 2009)

  • “Montgomery County police will not conduct immigration status investigations.”
  • If an individual is arrested for a violent crime, the police will simply notify ICE of arrestees and allow ICE to perform their duty from that point forward.

Prince George’s County

Resolution No. CR-78-2003 (December 15, 2003)

  • “…the Chief of Police and each member of the Prince George’s County Police Department is directed to…Refrain City employees from enforcing immigration matters that are the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security.”

Takoma Park

Takoma Park Municipal Code Ch. 9.04 (February 11, 2008)

  • “No agent, officer or employee of the City, in the performance of official duties, shall assist the United States Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the investigation or arrest of any persons for civil or criminal violation of the immigration and nationality laws of the United States.”
  • “…no agent, officer or employee of the City, in the performance of official duties, shall ask any person about his or her citizenship or immigration status or inquire about any person’s citizenship or immigration status with any third person.”

Environmental and Quality of Life Profile

The Chesapeake Bay: Because of population growth, a decade-long attempt to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, reduce air pollution, and combat sprawl has left Maryland's environment no better off than it was ten years ago, according to a 2002 report by the University of Maryland.1 More recently, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science gave the Chesapeake Bay a disheartening grade of "C" in 2009 for overall health, indicating overwhelmingly poor water quality and unhealthy aquatic life.2

Before the 1980s, any incidence of hypoxia at all in the bay was very rare. As more and more people have come and added their pollution to the waterway, however, a zone 90 to 125 miles long and six miles wide at its peak, completely devoid of aquatic life, has become a constant feature.3 This is the third largest dead zone in the country.4 Other smaller hypoxic hot-spots dot the bay which, when added to the massive area, means that over 15 percent of the total volume of water in the Chesapeake is effectively dead. Due in part to this catastrophe, Maryland’s famous blue crabs have declined in number by nearly 50 percent of the level in the early 1990s.5

The human population in the Chesapeake Bay watershed — centered on Maryland — is expected to reach 19 million by 2030.6 If growth continues in the Chesapeake Bay watershed at its current rate, gains made in restoring the bay would be reversed and more than 3,500 square miles of forests, wetlands and farms would be developed over the next 25 years.7 Gaithersburg’s Growth Education Movement has issued a study which disproves the popular argument that the impact on the Bay is due to rising per capita consumption, attributing nearly two-thirds of all open-space loss to population growth.8

Water Supply: Between 2000 and 2006, Maryland's foreign-born population increased by 31.8 percent.9 That compares with a 3.2 percent increase in the native-born population and that includes the children born to immigrants. When the U.S-born children of immigrants are included, immigration accounts for 85.7 percent of the state's overall growth during that time.10 The state's population is projected to rise to 7.7 million by 2050 — up from 5.6 million in 2006.11 Maryland has a daily, per-capita water demand of 155.6 gallons.12 This means that if water usage per capita remains unchanged by 2050 public water usage will have increased by 326.8 million gallons each day.

Traffic: As population growth put more traffic on the roads, the average commute for Maryland residents increased 15 percent during the 1990s, from 27 minutes to 31 minutes in 2000.13,14 In 2009, Maryland’s traffic congestion ranked second worst in the nation, with 49 percent of Maryland's major urban roads acutely congested.15 Maryland has already seen over 4,000 lane-miles of highway built since 1970, and even this extensive construction cannot accommodate the traffic generated by the exploding population of the area.16

Nearly half (45%) of Maryland's major roads are in poor or mediocre condition and vehicle travel on Maryland's highways increased 35 percent from 1990 to 2003. Driving on roads in need of repair costs Maryland motorists $1.4 billion a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs — $402 per motorist. Congestion in the Baltimore metropolitan area costs commuters $866 per person in excess fuel and lost time, and $1,212 in the Washington, DC metropolitan area per person per year in excess fuel and lost time. 17

In the Washington, DC-Virginia-Maryland metro area, travelers experience an annual delay of 69 hours (ranked third in the U.S.), and in the Philadelphia-New Jersey-Delaware-Maryland area, travelers experience an annual delay of 38 hours. In the Baltimore area travelers experience an annual delay of 50 hours.18 One-fourth of commuters in Maryland have a commute that is 45 minutes or more, ranking 2nd longest in the U.S.19

A study by a Montgomery County planning board task force predicted the weekday rush hour period on the Beltway around Washington could total 14 hours by 2020.20 In Howard County, traffic congestion has begun to clog even rural routes and back roads, which desperate drivers are using to avoid jams on the main roads.21 According to research at the University of Maryland, traffic congestion in Frederick, Howard, and Montgomery is even depressing voter turnout at election time by two or three percent.22 Local officials are concerned that firefighters are now unable to reach destinations in an emergency due to traffic congestion.23

According to urban planning experts, urban flight and gridlock will continue plaguing the Baltimore region for at least the next 30 years, and the future promises worsening congestion and traffic snarls as a growing suburban population commutes into the city.24

Disappearing open space: Each year, Maryland loses 36,000 acres of open space and farmland due to development.25 The Chesapeake Bay Program's Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee predicts that two million acres of farm and forest land in the Bay watershed will be lost to sprawl by 2030.26 The rate of land conversion in the watershed between 1990 and 2000 more than doubled over the previous decade.27

215,000 additional acres of land are projected to be developed in counties surrounding Baltimore by 2030 (a 64 percent increase in developed land); farmland, forests, and wetlands would comprise more than half of that total. The current trend indicates an estimated 50,000 acres in Anne Arundel will disappear by 2030.28

A study of urban sprawl between 1970 and 1990 that calculated the impact of population increase and per capita land use found that 282.9 square miles of additional land were consumed by urban sprawl in the Baltimore metropolitan area, and 27.6 percent of that sprawl was attributable to population increase. In the Wilmington, DE-New Jersey, Pennsylvania metro area, which crosses into Maryland, sprawl consumed an additional 78 square miles over the same period and population increase accounted for 35.7 percent of the increase.29

Sprawl:Over the next 20 years, Maryland will grow by more than a million residents, resulting in the loss of another half-million acres to development and an almost 50 percent increase in Central Maryland's developed land. Under Maryland's Smart Growth program, every county has had to designate growth areas. But most Baltimore-area counties aren't fulfilling the intent, which is to limit growth. Over the next 20 years, 75 percent of the region's newly developed acreage is expected to be outside designated growth areas. From 1982 to 1997, the developed areas of the Baltimore and Washington regions increased by 32 percent and 47 percent, respectively.30

In Howard County, final build-out (the point at which further building isn't feasible) fast approaches after the county grew by 32 percent in the 1990s; in Frederick, water shortages forced the city and county to restrict building; in Harford, there's consideration of making builders pay new impact fees or excise taxes; in Queen Anne's and Talbot counties, slow-growth candidates swept incumbents in 2002 elections.31

Crowded housing:In 2005, 42,000 Maryland households were defined as crowded or severely crowded by housing authorities.32 Studies show that a rise in crowded housing often correlates with an increase in the number of foreign-born.33, 34

Poverty:In 2005 9.2 percent of immigrants in Maryland have incomes below the poverty level, an increase of 13.4 percent since 2000. Among non-citizens, the rate climbs to 12.2 percent.35

At a time when there are not enough jobs for unskilled workers, immigration continues to flood the market with unskilled workers, lowering wages and opportunities for American workers; Maryland has approximately six job seekers for every unskilled job opening.36

Education: Between 2000 and 2006, the K-12 enrollment in Maryland increased by over 13,000 (1.6 percent),37, 38 and is projected to increase by an additional 54,000 students by 2015.39 Maryland's student to teacher ratio of 15.2 ranks 31st in the U.S.40

Howard County's state delegate has called the school crowding problem "a crisis" saying that it's necessary to use "every revenue stream we can get our hands on to stay ahead of the population growth curve." 41 Since 2001, Anne Arundel has sometimes denied developers permission to build new houses in certain school districts because the schools are already overcrowded.42, 43

In Harford, where public school enrollment increased by 1,000 to 1,400 students each year during the 1990s, the county is building a new $40 million middle/high school complex and spending $25 million to upgrade older schools to serve the increased student population.44 In 2003, eleven Harford schools were servicing more than their maximum designed capacity of students.45

Solid Waste:Maryland generates 1.63 tons of solid waste per capita.46

Air Quality:12 of Maryland's 23 counties received a grade of "F" from the American Lung Associations "State of the Air 2005" report.47


  1. Stephen Kiehl, "Md. Environment Troubled, UM Study Says," Baltimore Sun, December 18, 2002.
  2. Overview — Chesapeake Bay Report Card," Chesapeake EcoCheck, 2009.
  3. "Chesapeake swim: Come on in! The water’s dead,", June 14, 2010.
  4. "Manure becomes pollutant as its volume grows unmanageable," Washington Post, March 1, 2010.
  5. "Bay-wide Blue Crab: Winter Dredge Survey," Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service, 2010.
  6. Anita Huslin, "Warning Issued on Health of Bay," Washington Post, July 14, 2000.
  7. John Biemer, "Bay Program Outlines Possible Futures for Chesapeake," Associated Press, February 11, 2003.
  8. "Growing! Growing! Gone! The Chesapeake Bay and the Myth of Endless Growth," Tom Horton, August 2008 (web published by the Abell Foundation at accessed July 2010.
  9. U.S. Census Bureau 2006
  10. Jack Martin. "Issue Brief: Estimation of Foreign Born Birthrate." FAIR. 2008.
  11. Jack Martin and Stanley Fogel. "Projecting the U.S. Population to 2050." FAIR. March 2006.
  12. U.S. Geological Survey 2000
  13. "Table DP-1-4, Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 1990 and 2000," Census 2000, U.S. Census Bureau.
  14. "Table DP-1-4, Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 1990 and 2000," Census 2000, U.S. Census Bureau.
  15. "2009 Urban Mobility Report," Texas Transportation Institute, July 2009.
  16. "Annual Highway Mileage Reports," Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration Reports, 2009.
  17. "Report Card for America's Infrastructure 2005," American Society of Civil Engineers.
  18. "The 2005 Urban Mobility Report", Texas Transportation Institute.
  19. "U.S. Population 2007 Data Sheet," Population Reference Bureau.
  20. "Duncan Calls for $1B in Transportation Spending, ICC Restart," Associated Press, June 25, 2002.
  21. Sandy Alexander, "As Howard County's Population Expands, Cars Flood Rural Roads, Causing Frustration and Accidents," Baltimore Sun, November 10, 2001.
  22. Larry Carson, "Voters' Commute May Hurt Turnout," Baltimore Sun, March 3, 2003.
  23. Jeff Horsemen, "Forest Drive:2.4 Miles of Backups - and It's Just Getting Worse," The Capital, March 16, 2003.
  24. Paul Payne, "Planner: Traffic Should be Backed Up for 30 Years," Associated Press, May 16, 2001.
  25. "State Rankings by Acreage and Rate of Non-Federal Land Developed," Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture.
  26. John Biemer, op.cit.
  27. "Chapter 5: Development and Sprawl," Chesapeake Futures Report, January 2003.
  28. Ezra Fieser, "Study: Development Eroding Green Spaces," Baltimore Daily Record, May 2, 2002.
  29. Beck, Roy and Leon Kolankiewicz, "Weighing Sprawl Factors in Large U.S. Cities," NumbersUSA, March 2001.
  30. The Baltimore Sun, Editorial, December 2, 2002.
  31. Ibid
  32. Selected Housing Characteristics: 2005 Data Set - 2005 American Community Survey, American Fact Finder, U.S. Census Bureau.
  33. Haya El Nasser, "U.S. Neighborhoods Grow More Crowded," USA Today, July 7, 2002.
  34. Randy Capps, "Hardship Among Children of Immigrants: Findings from the 1999 National Survey of America's Families," Urban Institute, 2001.
  35. <"Maryland State Factsheet," Migration Information Source, Migration Policy Institute.
  36. "Maryland Poverty Profile 2001: Poverty Statistics for the State of Maryland and its Jurisdictions," Maryland Alliance for the Poor, January 2002.
  37. "Overview of Public Elementary and Secondary Schools and Districts: School Year 1999-2000," National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education.
  38. "Public Elementary and Secondary School Student Enrollment, High School Completions, and Staff From the Common Core of Data: School Year 2005-06', National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, June 2007.
  39. Ibid
  40. Ibid
  41. Larry Carson, "Pace of Growth May Ease, But Not Service Demand," Baltimore Sun, March 23, 2003.
  42. Scott Burke, "Overcrowding at School Stalls Housing Project," The Capital, June 29, 2001.
  43. Lynn Anderson, "Crowded Schools a Factor in Age-restricted Projects," Baltimore Sun, April 14, 2003.
  44. Linda Linley, "ABC's of Growth," Baltimore Sun, October 27, 2002. 42. Ted Shelsby, "Officials Warn Growth Failing to Pay for Itself," Baltimore Sun, February 16, 2003.
  45. Ted Shelsby, "Officials Warn Growth Failing to Pay for Itself," Baltimore Sun, February 16, 2003.
  46. Report Card for America's Infrastructure 2005," American Society of Civil Engineers.
  47. "State of the Air 2005: Maryland", American Lung Association.


Other Resources  

State Local Reform Organizations

State Representatives Voting Record


Updated January 2012