US sees 4% decrease in permanent resident green cards

by Ray Clancy on July 31, 2014

Almost 100,000 foreign nationals were granted green cards, entitling them to permanent residence in the United States in 2013, a drop of 4% compared to 2012.

The latest data from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shows that the decrease was mainly due to lower numbers of family-based applications; however, there was an overall increase in employment-based permanent residents from the previous year.

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The US saw a 4% drop in successful green card applications last year

Among the US states that permanent residents chose to call home, California came in first place with almost 20% of the nation’s total. New York, Florida, Texas, and New Jersey rounded out the top five states of residence for these new green card holders, with over half of the new permanent residents reporting that they planned to live in one of these five states.

Of the 990,000 cards that were issued, the majority, 66%, were family sponsorship application. 16% of new permanent residents obtained their status through employer sponsorship.

The most popular category in 2013 for new green cards were family sponsorship applications at 66 percent. Almost half of this group fell within the immediate relative category for spouses, parents, and children of US citizens. The next largest group for family-sponsored green cards was the family-based, second preference (F2) category for spouses and minor children of permanent residents.

The majority of employment cases were filed in either the-employment based, second or third preference (EB2 or EB3) categories. A smaller number of people, 12.1%, obtained green cards by filing as refugees or asylum seekers.

The data also shows that the annual diversity visa lottery accounted for 4.6% of new permanent residents. Fewer than 2% of applicants became permanent residents in 2013 through a variety of other miscellaneous categories.

The top country of origin was Mexico with 13.6% of permanent residents, followed by China with 7.2%, India with 6.9% and the Philippines with 5.5%.

Other popular countries of origin included the Dominican Republic with 4.2% of green cards, Cuba with 3.3%, Vietnam with 2.7% and South Korea with 2.3%.

Countries such as Colombia, Haiti, Jamaica, El Salvador, Nigeria, Pakistan, Canada, Ethiopia, Nepal, the United Kingdom, Iran, and Burma each comprised 2.1% or less of new permanent residents.  35% of new permanent residents came from other countries throughout the world.

A department spokesman said that the data provides a helpful insight into the countries where the majority of immigrants are coming from, the categories they are using to apply and the states they are choosing to live in.

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