Immigrants Will Make up 1 in 10 Americans Eligible to Vote in 2020 Election, Study Finds

Immigrants are expected to make up a record share of the number of eligible U.S. voters in the upcoming 2020 election, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.

According to a Pew report released on Wednesday, more than 23 million U.S. immigrants will be eligible to vote in November, comprising roughly 10 percent of the nation's total electorate.

The number, which was estimated based on Census Bureau data, marks a record high, representing a steady increase over the past 20 years, with numbers up 93 percent since 2000.

According to Pew, the U.S.-born eligible voter population has grown much more slowly in comparison since 2000, with those numbers growing by just 23 percent over the same time frame from 181 million eligible voters in 2000 to 238 million in 2020.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates this growth in the immigrant electorate.

immigrant electorate 2020 election statista
Growth in the immigrant electorate in the U.S. Statista

Most eligible immigrant voters, who were born outside the U.S. and who gained U.S. citizenship through naturalization, are either Hispanic or Asian, with immigrants from Mexico comprising the single largest group: 16 percent of foreign-born eligible voters.

The overall growth in eligible immigrant voters, Pew said in its report, "reflects two broad U.S. population trends."

The first is the rising number of immigrants living in the U.S., with numbers growing steadily since 1965, when the Immigration and Nationality Act came into effect. At that time, the roughly 9.6 million immigrants in the U.S. made up just 5 percent of the U.S. population. Today 45 million immigrants live in the U.S. representing roughly 13.9 percent of the population, with most being from Latin America or Asia.

The second trend is the rising number of immigrants who have been naturalized, with 7.2 million immigrants naturalized between 2009 and 2019, according to U.S. Department of Homeland Security data. In fiscal year 2018, for example, more than 756,000 immigrants naturalized in the U.S.

More than half of the U.S. immigrants (56 percent) expected to be eligible to vote in the 2020 election live in the country's four largest states in terms of population; California, New York, Texas and Florida.

The Pew Research Center's findings come at a time when immigration is expected to be a key focus in any Democratic nominee's fight to unseat President Donald Trump.

While the subject has been far from focus in Democratic primary debates, it is likely to be one of several issues to take center stage in debates with Trump, with the president facing widespread backlash and scrutiny over his immigration policies since launching his initial presidential run in the lead-up to the 2016 election.

A new U.S. citizen holds a flag to his chest during the Pledge of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony at the New York Public Library, July 3, 2018 in New York City. 200 immigrants from 50 countries became citizens during the ceremony, one day before America's Independence Day. Immigrants will make up a record 1-in-10 eligible U.S. voters in the upcoming 2020 election, a Pew Research Center study finds. Drew Angerer/Getty

This article was updated to include an infographic.