Immigration Facts
Summary Demographic State Data (and Source)
Population (2012 CB est.) 626,011
Population (2000 CB est.) 608,827
Foreign-Born Population (2012 CB est.) 25,541
Foreign-Born Population (2000 CB est.) 23,245
Share Foreign-Born (2012) 4.1 %
Share Foreign-Born (2000) 3.7%
Naturalized U.S. Citizens (2012 CB est.): 15,416
Share Naturalized (2012) 60.4 %
Legal Immigrant Admission (DHS 2001 – 2012) 8,463
Refugee Admission (HHS 2000 – 2012) 4,476
Illegal Alien Population (2010 FAIR est.) 5,000
Costs of Illegal Aliens (2009 FAIR) $37,674,539
Projected 2050 Population (2006 FAIR) 750,000

State Population

According to the Census Bureau, the population of Vermont in 2012 was 626,011 residents.

Between 2000 (population 608,827) and 2012, the state's average annual population change was 1,403 residents. That was an annual average change of 0.2 percent. The comparable national annual rate of change was 0.9 percent.

Between 1990 (population 562,758) and 2000, the state's annual average population change was 4,607 residents. The annual average rate of change was 0.8 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 Vermont was about 25,541 persons in 2012. This estimate meant a foreign-born population share of 4.1 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 187 people, compared to the state's annual average population change of about 1,403  people. That is a 13.4  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 9.9 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 8.2 percent share of the state's current births is large enough to account for about 500 births a year. Combining the average increase in the foreign-born population and estimated immigrant births suggests that immigration may account for about 690 persons added to the state's population annually, i.e., nearly 49.1 percent of the state's overall population increase.

As of 2012 about 44.7 percent of Vermont's foreign-born population had arrived in the state since 2000. This compares with the national average 40.9 percent. In 2000, 35.3 percent of the state's foreign-born population that had arrived since the previous Census.

Foreign-Born Characteristics

An indicator of the change in Vermont'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 5.9 percent to 5.4 percent. In 2000, 27.3 percent of those persons in also said they spoke English less than very well. In the 2012 estimate, the share was 25.6 percent that spoke English less than very well. In 2012 Spanish speakers were 20.7 percent of those who spoke other than English at home, and 18.4 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 15,416 residents of Vermont, or 60.4 percent of the foreign-born population in Vermont, were naturalized U.S. citizens, compared to 12,451 residents, or 53.6 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 Vermont's population resulting from net international migration has been about 505 people. It was 47.5 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 Vermont were 50 percent above admissions just after adoption of the current immigration system in 1965. During the 1965 to 1969 period, annual admissions averaged about 568 persons. During the most recent five years, annual admissions averaged about 850 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 Vermont between fiscal years 1965 and 2012 has been 28,160 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 Vermont was 67 (42 pre-1982 residents and 25 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 Vermont 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


Vermont has received 4,476 refugees over the most recent ten fiscal years including 350 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

Vermont Fiscal Costs
Due to Illegal Aliens
           ($M) (Pct.)
K-12 educ. $18.40 48.8%
LEP educ. $3.70 9.8%
Medicaid+ $2.20 5.8%
SCHIP $0.70 1.9%
Justice $2.00 5.3%
Welfare+ $3.80 10.1%
General $6.80 18.0%
Total $37.70  
Tax receipts $1.10  
Net Cost $36.60  
Source: "The State Cost Studies"

FAIR Estimate - FAIR estimates the illegal alien population of Vermont as of 2010 was about 5,000 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 Vermont 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 <10,000 as of>

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 Vermont 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 Vermont, LEP public school enrollment in 2010 ( 1,763) was 188.4 percent of LEP enrollment a decade earlier. By contrast, overall K-12 enrollment in the state was 88.4 percent of enrollment a decade earlier.

Population Projection

FAIR projected Vermont's population in 2050 likely would be between 738,000 million and 750,000 million with current levels of immigration. Alternatively, the population could be lower (688,000) 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 Vermont as 1,197 in 2013.

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

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

Immigration Impact

Sanctuary Policies


Press Release: Gov. Shumlin, Public Safety Announce Revised Bias-Free Policing Policy (November 4, 2011)

  • “…Vermont State Police Troopers should not try to identify people whose only suspected violation is that they are present in the United States without proper documentation, but [the policy] also makes it clear that officers should continue to investigate suspected criminal activity.”

City or County


Resolution: Opposing Arizona State Law SB 1070 and Affirming Burlington as a City of Immigrants (June 14, 2010)

  • “...local resources should not be used to support immigration enforcement programs and federal resources should not be accepted that require local police to enforce federal immigration policy that are under the exclusive power of the federal government….”
  • Expresses its opposition to Arizona SB 1070 and urges City Departments to refrain from entering into contracts with Arizona

Environmental and Quality of Life Profile

Education: Between 1990 and 2000, Vermont's elementary and high school enrollment increased 13 percent.1 Some areas are experiencing particularly dramatic increases: In Rutland, the high school population increased ten percent in just one year.2 In 2001, the Champlain Valley, high school enrollment was already 20 percent over the district's capacity and was expected to be 70 percent over capacity by 2007.3

Disappearing open space: The amount of developed land in Vermont increased by 131,300 acres from 1982 to 2007, growing at a pace of 4,780 acres per year over the last ten years of that period.4

In a demonstration of the extent of the problem, 20 percent of federal grant money for preserving farmland went to Vermont in 2001.5 When Vermonters were surveyed in 1998 on changes in their communities, 72 percent said they had noticed working landscape divided into house lots, 66 percent the loss of places of hiking, hunting, or fishing, 66 percent the loss of a favorite view, and 63 percent haphazard growth patterns.6

Sprawl: Between 1982 and 1992, the amount of developed land in Vermont grew 25 percent; nearly 40 percent of the land developed was either cropland or pasture.7 In Chittenden County, sprawl has begun to threaten the character of towns like Colchester, where residential housing permits requested went from an average of 60 a year in the 1990s to 800 in 2001. Concerns about sprawl have led Colchester and other communities to begin creating regulations to slow growth.8 Seventy percent of Vermonters say action should be taken to curb sprawl.9

Housing: An estimated 29,015 of Vermont’s housing units were classified as crowded in 2008, defined as units with more than one occupant per room. This amounted to 1.3 percent of the state’s housing units. In addition, 835 were severely crowded, with at least 1.5 occupants per room.10 6 percent of the state’s children live in crowded housing.11 Nationwide, children in immigrant families were three times as likely to live in crowded conditions as children in native families (27 percent to 9 percent).12

An analysis in 2000 estimated that Washington, Chittenden, Lamoille, Franklin, Addison, and Grand Isle counties had a shortage of 7,400 housing units; that shortage was expected to grow to 10,000 by 2010.13

In 2000, the rental vacancy rate in Chittenden had reached zero; in Burlington, it was at 0.25 percent. The governor predicted in 2000 that the housing crunch will only get worse and that northwestern Vermont would need 24,000 additional homes over the next ten years.14

Poverty: Immigrants in Vermont are more likely to be poor than natives. About 18.4 percent of foreign-born households had incomes below 150 percent of the poverty level in 2008, compared to 18.2 percent of natives.15

Traffic: Vermont highway traffic increased by 26 percent between 1990 and 2008.16 About 11 percent of Vermont commuters had a commute of 45 minutes or longer in 2008.17

Solid Waste: Vermont generates .99 tons of solid waste per capita each year.18 If this rate does not change, projected population growth between 2008 and 2050 will add about 1.2 million tons of solid waste to the state’s annual output.

Water: By 2050 the state's population is projected to rise from 624,000 in 2006 to 750,000.19 Vermont has a daily, per-capita water demand of 98.6 gallons.20 If water use rates do not change, population growth will increase Vermont’s water demand by over 10 million gallons per day in 2050.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, water resources in Vermont are being increasingly stressed by new demands.21 Even though per capita use of fresh water dropped 14 percent in Vermont between 1990 and 1995, population growth caused water use to rise from 45 million gallons a day to 50 million gallons a day.22 Drought conditions have persisted for several years across Vermont and in 2002 Lake Champlain's levels had fallen to their lowest observed level during the last thirty years.23 Vermont's water treatment infrastructure needs $362 million in improvements over the next 20 years and $459 million in drinking water infrastructure, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.24

Air Quality: Bennington and Chittenden counties both received a grade of "F" from the American Lung Association in their "State of the Air 2005" report.25

Illegal Residents: Almost 2,500 illegal aliens resided in Vermont as of 2000, according to INS figures. Illegal aliens have been found working in Vermont's construction industry and being smuggled over the northern border on their way to other states.26


  1. "Table DP-1-4, Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 1990 and 2000," Census 2000, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. "Spending Up, Taxes Down at Rutland Schools," Associated Press, April 25, 2000.
  3. "Voters Turn Down School Expansion," Associated Press, November 7, 2001.
  4. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, "Summary Report: 2007 National Resources Inventory."
  5. Vermont Gets $3.5 Million for Farmland Protection," Associated Press, June 6, 2001.
  6. "Exploring Sprawl," Vermont Forum on Sprawl, 1999.
  7. David Gram, "Forum Study: Development More Than Double Population Growth," Associated Press, November 9, 1999.
  8. "Tidal Wave of Residential Growth Bears Down on Colchester," Associated Press, June 23, 2001.
  9. "Poll Finds Opposition to Sprawl Growing," Associated Press, August 4, 2002.
  10. American Community Survey, Three-Year Estimates 2006-2008. Data retrieved using ACS Custom Table tool.
  11. Kids Count Data Center, Kids Count Data Center, 2008 American Community Survey Data.
  12. Kids Count Data Center, 2008 American Community Survey Data.
  13. Ross Sneyd, "Availability of Affordable Housing Still a Crisis," Associated Press, March 15, 2002.
  14. Lisa Rathke, "Report Says Housing Shortage Likely to Get Worse as Economy Grows," Associated Press, August 17, 2000.
  15. State Fact Sheet, Migration Information Source, Migration Policy Institute.
  16. The Road Information Project (TRIP), "Key Facts about Vermont’s Surface Transportation System and Federal Funding," May 2010.
  17. American Community Survey, 2008 Estimates, Custom Data Table.
  18. Report Card for America's Infrastructure 2005," American Society of Civil Engineers.
  19. "Jack Martin and Stanley Fogel. "Projecting the U.S. Population to 2050." FAIR. March 2006.
  20. U.S. Geological Survey 2000.
  21. "U.S. Geological Survey Programs in Vermont," U.S. Geological Survey website, 2003
  22. "Estimated Water Use in the United States, 1900 and 1995," Table 2, U.S. Geologicial Survey.
  23. "Drought Threatens the Northeast," Northeast States Emergency Consortium News, Spring 2002.
  24. The 2001 Report Card for America's Infrastructure, American Society of Civil Engineers, 2001.
  25. "State of the Air 2005: Vermont", American Lung Association.
  26. "Illegal Aliens Nabbed at Construction Site," Associated Press, August 23, 2001. "Seven Illegal Aliens Nabbed at Derby Line Border," Associated Press, May 10, 2002.