Immigration Facts
Summary Demographic State Data (and Source)
Population (2012 CB est.) 11,544,225
Population (2000 CB est.) 11,353,140
Foreign-Born Population (2012 CB est.) 535,790
Foreign-Born Population (2000 CB est.) 339,279
Share Foreign-Born (2012) 4.6 %
Share Foreign-Born (2000) 2.9%
Naturalized U.S. Citizens (2012 CB est.): 231,207
Share Naturalized (2012) 43.2 %
Legal Immigrant Admission (DHS 2001 – 2012) 141,086
Refugee Admission (HHS 2000 – 2012) 27,112
Illegal Alien Population (2010 FAIR est.) 110,000
Costs of Illegal Aliens (2009 FAIR) $563,119,993
Projected 2050 Population (2006 FAIR) 12,616,000

State Population

According to the Census Bureau, the population of Ohio in 2012 was 11,544,225 residents.

Between 2000 (population 11,353,140) and 2012, the state's average annual population change was 15,599 residents. That was an annual average change of 0.1 percent. The comparable national annual rate of change was 0.9 percent.

Between 1990 (population 10,847,115) and 2000, the state's annual average population change was 50,603 residents. The annual average rate of change was 0.5 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 Ohio was about 535,790 persons in 2012. This estimate meant a foreign-born population share of 4.6 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 16,042 people, compared to the state's annual average population change of about 15,599  people. That is a 102.8  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 57.9 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 9.2 percent share of the state's current births is large enough to account for about 13,000 births a year. Combining the average increase in the foreign-born population and estimated immigrant births suggests that immigration may account for about 29,040 persons added to the state's population annually, i.e., nearly 186.2 percent of the state's overall population increase.

As of 2012 about 46.1 percent of Ohio's foreign-born population had arrived in the state since 2000. This compares with the national average 40.9 percent. In 2000, 42.2 percent of the state's foreign-born population that had arrived since the previous Census.

Foreign-Born Characteristics

An indicator of the change in Ohio'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 6.1 percent to 6.7 percent. In 2000, 36.2 percent of those persons in also said they spoke English less than very well. In the 2012 estimate, the share was 34.9 percent that spoke English less than very well. In 2012 Spanish speakers were 34.0 percent of those who spoke other than English at home, and 35.9 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 231,207 residents of Ohio, or 43.2 percent of the foreign-born population in Ohio, were naturalized U.S. citizens, compared to 169,295 residents, or 49.9 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 Ohio's population resulting from net international migration has been about 27,910 people. It was 116.7 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 Ohio were 92 percent above admissions just after adoption of the current immigration system in 1965. During the 1965 to 1969 period, annual admissions averaged about 7,441 persons. During the most recent five years, annual admissions averaged about 14,272 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 Ohio between fiscal years 1965 and 2012 has been 454,294 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 Ohio was 2,699 (1,466 pre-1982 residents and 1,233 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 Ohio 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


Ohio has received 27,112 refugees over the most recent ten fiscal years including 2,245 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

Ohio Fiscal Costs
Due to Illegal Aliens
           ($M) (Pct.)
K-12 educ. $364.0 41.4%
LEP educ. $144.6 16.4%
Medicaid+ $79.7 9.0%
SCHIP $4.6 0.6%
Justice $79.2 9.0%
Welfare+ $81.2 9.2%
General $125.0 14.2%
Total $879.3  
Tax receipts $37.8  
Net Cost $841.5  
Source: "The State Cost Studies"

FAIR Estimate - FAIR estimates the illegal alien population of Ohio as of 2010 was about 110,000 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 Ohio 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 100,000 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 Ohio 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 Ohio, LEP public school enrollment in 2010 ( 40,933) was 243.1 percent of LEP enrollment a decade earlier. By contrast, overall K-12 enrollment in the state was 96.1 percent of enrollment a decade earlier.

Population Projection

FAIR projected Ohio's population in 2050 likely would be between 12,422,000 million and 12,616,000 million with current levels of immigration. Alternatively, the population could be lower (11,555,000) 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 Ohio as 28,401 in 2013.

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

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

Immigration Impact

Sanctuary Policies

City or County


Columbus Police Division Directive 3.40: Arrest, Transport, and Slating (April 15, 2010)

  • “Division personnel shall not arrest or detain persons for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unless a warrant exists or a criminal violation was observed.”


Dayton Commission Meeting Minutes (January 13, 2010)

  • Refers to an Executive Order made by Police Chief Richard Biehl that would prohibit officers from questioning victims of and witnesses to crimes about their immigration status

Resolution No. 5857-11 (October 5, 2011)

  • Adopted the “Welcome Dayton Plan” that urges policies that emphasize immigration status checks limited to people suspected of serious crime only, prevent questioning victims/witnesses about their immigration status, and focus enforcement efforts on serious/violent crime and not federal immigration law.


Resolution No. R08 -14 CMS (December 15, 2008)

  • Establishes a basic don’t ask, don’t tell approach in regards to immigration status and prevents Oberlin law enforcement from entering into 287(g) agreement with the Department of Homeland Security

Population Profile

The cities of Dayton and Cincinnati have grown into one another in a rush of development, which residents complain is wiping out farmland and overtaxing water, traffic, and school systems.1 Growth has been particularly dramatic in Ohio's fastest growing county, Warren County just north of Columbus, which grew 64 percent between 1990 and 2000.2

Environmental and Quality of Life Profile

Water:By 2050 the state's population is projected to rise from 11.5 million in 2006 to over 12.6 million.3 Ohio has a daily, per-capita water demand of 129.5 gallons.4 This means that by 2050 public water usage will have increased by 142.5 million gallons each day.

Traffic:Vehicle traffic on Ohio highways increased by 27 percent between 1990 and 2007. Nearly one-half (45%) of Ohio's major urban highways are congested. One-quarter (25%) of Ohio's major roads are in poor or mediocre condition, and 27 percent of its bridges are structurally obsolete.5 Unfortunately, the state’s budget has not been able to keep up with increasing congestion. By 2014, Ohio is projected to have a $10.1 billion highway funding shortfall at the state level alone.6 In 2007, it was estimated that poor road conditions cost Ohio residents $1.7 billion each year in repair and operating expenses.7

Vehicle traffic on Ohio highways increased by 27 percent between 1990 and 2007. Nearly one-half (45%) of Ohio's major urban highways are congested. One-quarter (25%) of Ohio's major roads are in poor or mediocre condition, and 27 percent of its bridges are structurally obsolete.8 Unfortunately, the state’s budget has not been able to keep up with increasing congestion. By 2014, Ohio is projected to have a $10.1 billion highway funding shortfall at the state level alone.9 In 2007, it was estimated that poor road conditions cost Ohio residents $1.7 billion each year in repair and operating expenses.10

Between the Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo urban areas, congestion cost commuters $1.4 billion in wasted time and extra fuel alone in 2007. Nationwide, the cost of congestion was over $87 billion. In 2002, traffic congestion amounted to approximately 250 million hours of lost time for Ohio motorists and will increase to nearly 460 million hours of delay by 2020.  In 2002, 25 percent of residents of Columbus listed traffic congestion as their number one concern about the area; it was the first time traffic had surpassed crime as the top concern.11

Disappearing open space:The amount of developed land in Ohio increased by nearly 1.3 million acres between 1982 and 2007, growing at a pace of 42,000 acres per year for the last 10 years of that period.12 Ohio's available farmland decreased twelve percent between 1982 and 1997, from 15.2 million to 13.6 million acres, and its pasture land decreased 40 percent, from 2.8 million acres to 2 million acres. Ohio ranked eighth in the nation in the amount of land that was converted to urban uses between 1992 and 1997. In that same period, Ohio ranked second out of all states in acreage of prime agricultural land converted to urban uses.13 Ohio's original wetlands areas have declined from about five million acres to less than half a million acres—a loss of 90 percent.14

Sprawl: A study of urban sprawl between 1970 and 1990 that calculated the impact of population increase and per capita land use found that 110.4 square miles of additional land were consumed by urban sprawl in the Columbus metropolitan area, and 46.5 percent of that sprawl was attributable to population increase. In the Cincinnati metro area, which crosses into Kentucky, sprawl consumed an additional 176.6 square miles and population increase accounted for 20.8 percent of the increase.15

Crowded housing: An estimated 52,819 of Ohio’s housing units were classified as crowded in 2008, defined as units with more than one occupant per room. This amounted to 1.2 percent of the state’s housing units. 9,829 of those were severely crowded, with at least 1.5 occupants per room.16  Following the national trend, crowded housing rates were driven upward by immigration. 13 percent of children in immigrant families live in crowded housing, more than double the 5 percent of children with native-born parents.17

Air pollution: Hamilton County is the tenth-most polluted county in the U.S. measured by year-round particle pollution, and Cuyahoga County ranked 21st. Of the 32 counties graded for the number of high ozone days in the American Lung Association’s 2010 assessment, 24 received an "F," five received a "D," and three received a "C." 18  In 2000, the power plants used to support Ohio's population produced 375,000 tons of nitrous oxide, the equivalent of the annual emissions from 19 million cars.19

Poverty: As in almost all states, Ohio’s immigrants are more likely to be poor than their native-born counterparts. In 2007, 15.0 percent of foreign-born households were below the poverty line, compared to 13.1 percent of native households. An additional 8.7 percent of the foreign-born and 8.2 percent of native households were not in poverty but had incomes less than 1.5 times the poverty level.20 21.5 percent of immigrant children lived in a poor family in 2006, compared to 17.6 percent of native children.21

Education: Public school enrollment in Ohio increased by 58,000 students between 1998 and 2008. Over the same period, the number of students per teacher increased from 16.5 to 17.1, the ninth-highest ratio in the country.22 The Cincinnati school district was already using more than 130 temporary trailer classrooms in 2003.23 In Columbus, one quarter of all schools are overcrowded.24 In Hilliard, some classes meet daily in staff dining rooms and study halls are being held in gyms.

Solid Waste: Ohio generates 1.42 tons of solid waste per capita.25


  1. Lynn Hulsey and Lawrence Budd, "Rush to the Middle: Growth has Joined Dayton and Cincinnati into One City," Dayton Daily News, October 28, 2001.
  2. Joann Rouse, "Warren County Continues Growth," Dayton Daily News, February 24, 2002.
  3. Jack Martin and Stanley Fogel. "Projecting the U.S. Population to 2050." FAIR. March 2006.
  4. U.S. Geological Survey 2000
  5. Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, "State Page: Ohio," Accessed July 21, 2010.
  6. American Society of Civil Engineers, "2009 Ohio Infrastructure Report Card."
  7. The Road Information Project (TRIP), "Key Facts about Ohio’s Road and Bridge Conditions and Federal Funding." February 2007.
  8. Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, "State Page: Ohio," Accessed July 21, 2010.
  9. American Society of Civil Engineers, "2009 Ohio Infrastructure Report Card."
  10. The Road Information Project (TRIP), "Key Facts about Ohio’s Road and Bridge Conditions and Federal Funding." February 2007.
  11. "Curing Myopia; Regional Planning a Must for Central Ohio," Columbus Dispatch, April 28, 2002.
  12. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, "Summary Report: 2007 National Resources Inventory."
  13. "Growth and Change at the Rural-Urban Interface: An Overview of Ohio's Changing Population and Land Use," The Exurban Change Project, Ohio State University, March 2003.
  14. "A History of Ohio Wetlands," Ohio Department of Natural Resources website.
  15. Beck, Roy and Leon Kolankiewicz, "Weighing Sprawl Factors in Large U.S. Cities," NumbersUSA, March 2001.
  16. American Community Survey, Three-Year Estimates 2006-2008. Custom Table.
  17. Kids Count Data Center (2008 American Community Survey Data)
  18. American Lung Association, "State of the Air 2010."
  19. Dennis Fiely, "Evidence Building for Deadly Effects of Air Pollution," Columbus Dispatch, June 17, 2002.
  20. Migration Information Source State Data (Migration Policy Institute)
  21. Urban Institute, state data accessed through data tool.
  22. NEA, "Rankings and Estimates," 1999 and 2009 editions.
  23. Jennifer Mrozowski, "Four Schools May Add Trailers," Cincinnati Enquirer, March 8, 2003.
  24. "Condition of Columbus Schools," KidsOhio.org, Fall 2002.
  25. "Report Card for America's Infrastructure 2005," American Society of Civil Engineers.


Other Resources  

State Local Reform Organizations

State Representatives Voting Record


Updated December 2011