Immigration Facts
Summary Demographic State Data (and Source)
Population (2012 CB est.) 2,984,926
Population (2000 CB est.) 2,844,658
Foreign-Born Population (2012 CB est.) 59,303
Foreign-Born Population (2000 CB est.) 39,908
Share Foreign-Born (2012) 2.2%
Share Foreign-Born (2000) 1.4%
Naturalized U.S. Citizens (2012 CB est.): 21,299
Share Naturalized (2012) 35.9 %
Legal Immigrant Admission (DHS 2001 – 2012) 14,421
Refugee Admission (HHS 2000 – 2012) 409
Illegal Alien Population (2010 FAIR est.) 30,000
Costs of Illegal Aliens (2009 FAIR) $106,390,195
Projected 2050 Population (2006 FAIR) 3,502,000

State Population

According to the Census Bureau, the population of Mississippi in 2012 was 2,984,926 residents.

Between 2000 (population 2,844,658) and 2012, the state's average annual population change was 11,450 residents. That was an annual average change of 0.4 percent. The comparable national annual rate of change was 0.9 percent.

Between 1990 (population 2,573,216) and 2000, the state's annual average population change was 27,144 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 Mississippi was about 59,303 persons in 2012. This estimate meant a foreign-born population share of 2.2 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 1,585 people, compared to the state's annual average population change of about 11,450  people. That is a 13.8  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 48.6 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 4.0 percent share of the state's current births is large enough to account for about 1,640 births a year. Combining the average increase in the foreign-born population and estimated immigrant births suggests that immigration may account for about 3,225 persons added to the state's population annually, i.e., nearly 13.8 percent of the state's overall population increase.

As of 2012 about 59.2 percent of Mississippi's foreign-born population had arrived in the state since 2000. This compares with the national average 40.9 percent. In 2000, 49.6 percent of the state's foreign-born population that had arrived since the previous Census.

Foreign-Born Characteristics

An indicator of the change in Mississippi'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 3.6 percent to 3.6 percent. In 2000, 37.7 percent of those persons in also said they spoke English less than very well. In the 2012 estimate, the share was 37.7 percent that spoke English less than very well. In 2012 Spanish speakers were 60.5 percent of those who spoke other than English at home, and 63.4 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 21,299 residents of Mississippi, or 35.9 percent of the foreign-born population in Mississippi, were naturalized U.S. citizens, compared to 16,098 residents, or 40.3 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 Mississippi's population resulting from net international migration has been about 4,470 people. It was 23.0 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 Mississippi were 356 percent above admissions just after adoption of the current immigration system in 1965. During the 1965 to 1969 period, annual admissions averaged about 363 persons. During the most recent five years, annual admissions averaged about 1,658 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 Mississippi between fiscal years 1965 and 2012 has been 43,466 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 Mississippi was 670 (352 pre-1982 residents and 318 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 Mississippi 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 http://www.dhs.gov/files/statistics/publications/yearbook.shtm) then select the desired year, click Legal Permanent Residents, data and then select "supplemental table 1."

Chart of Immigrant Admission by Fiscal Year


Mississippi has received 409 refugees over the most recent ten fiscal years including 8 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

Mississippi Fiscal Costs
Due to Illegal Aliens
           ($M) (Pct.)
K-12 educ. $59.90 56.3%
LEP educ. $10.40 9.8%
Medicaid+ $9.40 8.8%
SCHIP $2.10 2.0%
Justice $7.80 7.3%
Welfare+ $6.10 5.7%
General $10.80 10.2%
Total $106.40  
Tax receipts $9.30  
Net Cost $97.10  
Source: "The State Cost Studies"

FAIR Estimate - FAIR estimates the illegal alien population of Mississippi as of 2010 was about 30,000 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 Mississippi 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 45,000 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 Mississippi 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 Mississippi, LEP public school enrollment in 2010 ( 6,084) was 338.2 percent of LEP enrollment a decade earlier. By contrast, overall K-12 enrollment in the state was 98.4 percent of enrollment a decade earlier.

Population Projection

FAIR projected Mississippi's population in 2050 likely would be between 3,482,000 million and 3,502,000 million with current levels of immigration. Alternatively, the population could be lower (3,381,000) 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 Mississippi as 2,699 in 2013.

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

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

Immigration Impact

Environmental and Quality of Life Profile

Water: Between 2000 and 2006, Mississippi's foreign-born population increased by 27.9 percent.1 That compares with a two 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 30.5 percent of the state's overall growth during that time.2 By 2050 the state's population is expected to rise from 2.9 million in 2006 to over 3.5 million.3 Mississippi has a daily, per-capita water demand of 126.2 gallons.4 This means that by 2050 public water usage will have increased by 75.7 million gallons each day

Overcrowded schools: Parts of Mississippi are struggling to accommodate drastically increased school enrollments. In Madison County, school enrollment has nearly doubled in the past 14 years.5 Madison's foreign-born population increased by 263 percent in the 1990s. In DeSoto County, where the foreign-born population increased by 579 percent in the 1990s, school enrollment rose from 15,400 in 1996 to 21,000 in 2002, a 36 percent increase in six years.6 DeSoto leads all Mississippi school districts in projected new student growth; the county is having to hire additional teachers and build new schools.7 In Olive Branch, where the foreign-born population increased by a whopping 1,406 percent during the 1990s, school enrollments are projected to increase an average of eight percent every year.8

Mississippi's K-12 student enrollment is projected to grow by an additional 4,000 students by the year 2015. 9, 10 Mississippi's student-teacher ratio of 15.7 ranks 34th in the U.S. 11

Traffic: As population growth put more traffic on the roads, the average commute for Mississippi residents increased 19 percent during the 1990s, from 21 to 25 minutes in 2000. 12, 1313 percent of commuters have a commute that is 45 minutes or more. 14

Disappearing Open Space/Sprawl: Each year, Mississippi loses 41,300 acres due to development.15

Poverty: In 2005, 17.5 percent of immigrants in Mississippi had incomes below poverty level, an increase of 5.5 percent since 2000. Among foreign-born non-citizens, the poverty rate climbs to 20.4 percent.16

Crowded Housing: In 2005 over 32,000 Mississippi households were classified as crowded or severely crowded by housing authorities. 17 Studies show that a rise in crowded housing often correlates with an increase in the number of foreign-born. 18, 19

Solid Waste: Mississippi generates 1.02 tons of solid waste per capita. 20

Air Quality: Desoto, Hancock, and Harrison counties all received a grade of "F" from the American Lung Associations "State of the Air 2005" report. Jackson and Adams counties both received a grade of "C". 21


  1. U.S. Census Bureau 2006.
  2. Jack Martin. "Issue Brief: Estimation of Foreign Born Birthrate." FAIR. 2008.
  3. Jack Martin and Stanley Fogel. "Projecting the U.S. Population to 2050." FAIR. March 2006.
  4. U.S. Geological Survey 2000.
  5. "Madison County Gets Funds to Study Increased School Enrollment," Associated Press, July 23, 2002.
  6. Emily Wagster, "Mississippi Schools' Funding on Track to be Millions Short," Associated Press, March 26, 2002
  7. DeSoto County Has State's Largest Increase in School Enrollment," Associated Press, August 18, 2001.
  8. "School Officials Moving Ahead with Plans to Alleviate Crowding," Associated Press, April 17, 2001.
  9. Projections of Education Statistics to 2015, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education.
  10. "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.
  11. Ibid.
  12. "Table DP-1-4, Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000," Census 2000, U.S. Census Bureau.
  13. "Table DP-1-4, Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 1990," 1990 Census, U.S. Census Bureau.
  14. "U.S. Population 2007 Data Sheet," Population Reference Bureau.
  15. "State Rankings by Acreage and Rate of Non-Federal Land Developed," Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture.
  16. "Mississippi State Factsheet," Migration Information Source, Migration Policy Institute.
  17. Selected Housing Characteristics:2005 Data Set - 2005 American Community Survey, American Fact Finder, U.S. Census Bureau.
  18. Haya El Nasser, "U.S. Neighborhoods Grow More Crowded," USA Today, July 7, 2002.
  19. Randy Capps, "Hardship Among Children of Immigrants: Findings from the 1999 National Survey of America's Families," Urban Institute, 2001.
  20. Report Card for America's Infrastructure 2005," American Society of Civil Engineers.
  21. "State of the Air 2005: Mississippi", American Lung Association.


Other Resources  

State Local Reform Organizations

State Representatives Voting Record


Updated March 2012