Foreign born

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For the band, see Foreign Born.

Foreign born (also non-native) people are those born outside of their country of residence. Foreign born are often non-citizens, but many are naturalized citizens of the country that they live in and others are citizens by descent, typically through a parent.

The term foreign born encompasses both immigrants and expatriates but is not synonymous with either. Foreign born may, like immigrants, have committed to living in a country permanently or, like expatriates, live abroad for a significant period with the plan to return to their birth-country eventually.

The status of foreign born — particularly their access to citizenship — differs globally. The large groups of foreign born guest workers in Arab states of the Persian Gulf, for example, have no right to citizenship no matter the length of their residence. In Canada and the United States, by contrast, foreign born are often citizens or in the process of becoming citizens. Certain countries have intermediary rules: in Germany and Japan it is often difficult but not impossible for the foreign born to become citizens.

Further information: Nationality law

Trends by country[edit]

The percentage of foreign born in a country is the product mostly of immigration rates, but is also affected by emigration rates and birth and death rates in the destination country. For example, the United Kingdom and Ireland are destination countries for migrants from Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia, but are themselves source countries for immigration to other English-speaking countries. The countries with the highest rates of immigration are wealthy countries with relatively open nationality or migration laws including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and the Persian Gulf States.

The largest foreign-born population in the world is in the United States, which was home to 39 million foreign-born residents in 2012, or 12.6% of the population.[1] The highest percentage of foreign-born residents occurs in small, wealthy countries with large numbers of temporary foreign workers, such as the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, the population of each is, depending on the economy at the time, around 80%.[2] In 2010, the Migration Policy Institute reported that the largest percentages were Qatar (86.5%) and UAE (70%).[3]

Cities with largest foreign born populations[edit]

Rank City Country Estimate Source Foreign-Born Population
1 New York City  United States 2015 ACS 3,212,500[4]
2 London  United Kingdom ONS 2014 3,082,000[5]
3 Toronto  Canada Canada 2011 Census 1,512,230
4 Los Angeles  United States 2011 ACS 1,489,640
5 Houston  United States 2011 ACS 593,412
6 Chicago  United States 2011 ACS 579,127
7 Montreal  Canada Canada 2011 Census 536,738
8 Paris  France INSEE 436,576
9 San Francisco  United States 2011 ACS 382,463
10 San Jose  United States 2011 ACS 378,867
11 San Diego  United States 2011 ACS 350,768
12 Dallas  United States 2011 ACS 310,142
13 Vancouver  Canada Canada 2006 Census 260,760[6]
14 Calgary  Canada Canada 2006 Census 252,800[7]
15 Milan  Italy Istat 2011 236,855[8]
16 Birmingham  United Kingdom ONS 2014 222,000[5]
17 Ottawa  Canada Canada 2006 Census 178,545[9]
18 Boston  United States 2010 United States Census 167,311
19 Washington, D.C.  United States 2010 United States Census 83,429

Metropolitan regions with largest foreign born populations[edit]

Rank[10] City Country Foreign-Born Pop
1 New York metropolitan area  United States 5,656,000[11]
2 Los Angeles metropolitan area  United States 4,421,000[11]
3 London and Home Counties  United Kingdom 4,051,502[5]
4 Toronto metropolitan area  Canada 2,794,840[12]
5 Hong Kong (SAR)  Hong Kong 2,793,450
6 Paris metropolitan area  France 2,429,223[13]
7 Miami metropolitan area  United States 1,949,629
8 Sydney Greater Statistical Area  Australia 1,759,129
9 Chicago metropolitan area  United States 1,625,649
10 Singapore (city only)  Singapore 1,305,011
11 San Francisco metropolitan area  United States 1,201,209
12 Melbourne Metropolitan area  Australia 1,200,000 [14]
13 Moscow (city only)  Russia 1,128,035
14 Houston metropolitan area  United States 1,113,875
15 Metropolitan Dubai  United Arab Emirates 1,056,000
16 Riyadh (city only)  Saudi Arabia 1,054,000
17 Washington metropolitan area  United States 1,017,432
18 Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex  United States 1,016,221

Miscellaneous regions with high percentage of foreign born population[edit]

Rank> City Country Percent Largest Source of Immigrants
1 Dubai  United Arab Emirates 82  India  Pakistan  Bangladesh
2 Brussels  Belgium 68 [15] [16]  Italy  France  Morocco  Turkey  Romania
3 Luxembourg City  Luxembourg 66 [17]  France  Portugal  Italy  Belgium  Germany
4 Santa Ana, CA  United States 53  Mexico  People's Republic of China  Philippines  El Salvador
5 Daly City, CA  United States 52  Philippines  People's Republic of China  Mexico  El Salvador
6 Toronto  Canada 52* [18]  United Kingdom  People's Republic of China  India  Philippines  Ireland  Italy
7 Miami  United States 51 [19]  Cuba  Haiti  Colombia  Nicaragua  Honduras
8 Queens, NY  United States 48  People's Republic of China  Colombia  India  Bangladesh  South Korea  Ecuador
9 Muscat  Oman 45  India  Pakistan  Bangladesh
10 Singapore  Singapore 43  Malaysia,  People's Republic of China,  India,  Indonesia
11 Vancouver  Canada 40  Hong Kong  People's Republic of China  India  United Kingdom  South Korea
12 Geneva   Switzerland 39  Portugal[20]  Italy  France  Spain  Germany
13 Auckland  New Zealand 39  United Kingdom  People's Republic of China  India  Fiji
  • Toronto was estimated to be higher at the 2011 census. After Statistics Canada, the national statistics agency, made the National Household Survey optional following the 2006 census it was estimated that minority groups would be less likely to respond to the survey. Furthermore, the statistics are less likely to represent the large communities of temporary foreign workers and international students in Toronto.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ United States Census Bureau. Current Population Survey - March 2012 Detailed Tables, Table 1.1. Accessed September 6, 2014.
  2. ^ "UAE flatly rejects citizenship for foreign workers". 
  3. ^ "Data Hub". 
  4. ^ "Place of Birth by Year of Entry by Citizenship Status for the Foreign-Born Population - Universe: Foreign-born population 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates New York City". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 16, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c "Population of the United Kingdom by Country of Birth and Nationality". 
  6. ^ "Community Profiles from the 2006 Census, Statistics Canada - Census Subdivision". 13 March 2007. 
  7. ^ "Immigration in Canada: A Portrait of the Foreign-born Population, 2006 Census: Portraits of major metropolitan centres". Statistics Canada. 2009-11-20. 
  8. ^ [1] Archived January 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ "Community Profiles from the 2006 Census, Statistics Canada - Census Subdivision". 13 March 2007. 
  10. ^ "Data Hub". 
  11. ^ a b Jie Zong and Jeanne Batalova (April 14, 2016). "U.S. Immigrant Population by Metropolitan Area". Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved April 23, 2016. 
  12. ^ "2006 Census: Immigration in Canada: A Portrait of the Foreign-born Population, 2006 Census: Immigrants in metropolitan areas: Vast majority of immigrants chose city life". 4 December 2007. 
  13. ^ INSEE. "Répartition de la population de la France par région de naissance et région de résidence en 2008". Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ 3.2 Vreemde Afkomst in 2008 3.2.1.
  16. ^ World Migration Report 2015, Brussels is the second most cosmopolitan city in the world after Dubai
  17. ^ "Luxemburger Wort". 
  18. ^ "National Household Survey (NHS) Profile, 2011". 
  19. ^ "Miami-Dade County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". 
  20. ^ Mémento statistique du canton de Genève 2010, p. 1
  21. ^ "National Household Survey: Immigration dramatically changing makeup of Toronto and Canada". 8 May 2013. 

External links[edit]