It’s tough to answer. One estimate, among many:
* 350,000 illegal immigrants in North Carolina
* 11.9 million illegal immigrants in the United States.
The one above is from the non-partisan Pew Hispanic Center, one of the most respected think tanks that studies the immigrant community. And even Pew's experts caution that the margin of error is large.
Jeffrey Passel, the center’s senior demographer said the real number is probably somewhere between 300,000 and 400,000 in North Carolina.
One of the cool things about blogs, is we can give you more information that we would otherwise not be able to fit in the newspaper.
Some of you likely read our story last week on how unprecedented flood of illegal immigrants into North Carolina had come to a dramatic halt.
You may also be interested in taking a look at Pew's report "A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States," which prompted my story and many similar ones across the country.
Some of the interesting findings:
- In 2006, the Pew Hispanic Center estimated 390,000 illegal immigrants lived in North Carolina. The center says the number was about 350,000 in 2008. “What it looks like is that North Carolina's numbers have stopped growing,” said Jeffrey Passel, the center's senior demographer and the report's author.
- More than half of the foreign-born population in North Carolina is in the country illegally.
- North Carolina now ranks ninth in the number of illegal immigrants.
- Nearly 3 out of 4 children of illegal immigrants are U.S. citizens.
- U.S. and foreign-born children of illegal immigrants make up an estimated 6.8 percent of the nation's K-12 students.
- 76 percent of illegal immigrants are Latino.
- A third of the children of illegal immigrants live in poverty – nearly double the rate for children of U.S.-born parents.
- Illegal immigrants are more likely than U.S.-born residents or legal immigrants to live in a household with a spouse and children.