The differences in state destinations for legal and illegal immigrants are modest: some states have relatively large numbers of legal immigrants compared with their numbers of illegal immigrants (the New England and northern Great Lakes areas, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington); others have higher numbers of illegal immigrants compared with legal immigrants (Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Wyoming). The mix of illegal and legal immigrants appears to reflect the balance of demand for farmworkers (attracting illegal immigrants) and employment opportunities in expanding larger industries (attracting primarily legal immigrants).
This concentration need not be static. On one hand, the foreign-born population in a state may decrease if many immigrants move to other states or if they are very old and will soon die. On the other hand, the foreign-born population could increase if other immigrants resettle in the state. However, the state distribution of the foreign-born population closely resembles that of new immigrants. In 1990, one-third of the foreign-born population resided in California and another 14 percent lived in New York. Texas and Florida each had 8 percent, and New Jersey and Illinois 4 percent each. Combined, these six states accounted for over three-fourths of the nation's foreign-born population. The remaining quarter of the foreign-born population were widely distributed across the other 44 states and the District of Columbia.
The geographic concentration is even more pronounced than state-level data indicate because most immigrants live in remarkably few metropolitan areas. According to the 1990 census, over 93 percent of the foreign-born population reside in metropolitan areas, compared with 73 percent of native-born residents. About one-half of the immigrants who entered the United States during the 1980s lived in eight metropolitan areas in 1990: Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Anaheim, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Houston, and San Francisco—again in rank order. The two metropolitan areas with the highest proportion of foreign-born in 1990 were Miami (46 percent foreign-born) and Los Angeles (33 percent foreign-born).
The patterns of immigration (foreign-born arrivals) and internal migration (by both immigrants and native-born within the United States) are often interrelated. In many instances, the same forces that attract immigrants into a state entice internal migrants from other states. In other cases, the arrival of new immigrants into a state may induce out-migration by some native-born workers with whom they may compete. These patterns varied widely among the major immigration-receiving states in the 1980s. For example, California and Florida attracted a sizeable number of internal migrants as well as a large number of immigrants during that period. By contrast, New York, Texas, Illinois, and New Jersey received many immigrants, but experienced a large number of departures to other states. For these four states, population gains from immigration were largely offset by losses from internal migration. The degree to which native workers move out of an area under pressure from new immigrants will be a critical ele-