To put it simply, nobody really knows how many illegal aliens there are in the United States because — doh! — being illegally here, they don’t report their presence.
What we have are estimates, based on imperfect, unreliable methods:
- Surveys that ask respondents whether they were born outside of the United States and whether they are American citizens, such as the American Community Survey and the Current Population Survey.
- Government data on legal immigrants.
Source of GIF: Arizona rancher’s video of armed illegal border-crossers
Using those imperfect methods, the current, mysteriously widely-accepted estimate of the number of illegal aliens in the U.S. is 11 million.
Using a different method, however, a new study by a team of three researchers from MIT and Yale University, published on Sept. 21, 2018, in the peer-reviewed online journal Plos One, found that the number of “undocumented immigrants” in America is actually 22.1 million, twice the estimated 11 million.
That 22.1 million figure is a conservative estimate, which means the real number may actually be higher.
The three researchers are (Yale Insights):
- Mohammad M. Fazel-Zarandi, senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management .
- Jonathan S. Feinstein, John G. Searle Professor of Economics and Management at Yale School of Management.
- Edward H. Kaplan, William N. and Marie A. Beach Professor of Operations Research at Yale School of Management.
The team of three used the best-available demographic data from 1990 to 2016 to construct a simulation model, and came to very different conclusions than current assumptions.
From the article‘s Introduction:
We employ this approach to estimate the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. for each year from 1990 to 2016, using the best available data and parameter values from the academic literature and government sources. Some of the information we use has been collected and made available only recently….
The mean estimate [of the number of undocumented immigrants in 2016] based on our simulation analysis is 22.1 million, essentially double the current widely accepted estimate.