Illinois Sees Growth in Illegal Immigrant Population

National numbers down due to job shortage

By Jennifer Schwarz
|  Thursday, Sep 2, 2010  |  Updated 8:45 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON - APRIL 10: Demonstrators take part in the National Day of Action for Immigrant Justice, or La Marcha, April 10, 2006 on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Protests, marches and rallies were held across the United States today as the issue of immigration rights and justice appears stalled in the U.S. Congress. (photo by David S. Holloway/Getty Images

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A new report says Illinois' illegal immigrant population has remained stable in the midst of the recession. 

The land of Lincoln bucks the national trend, which shows illegal immigrants declining over the last two years as jobs dwindled, according to a study released Wednesday by the Pew Hispanic Center.

Illinois ranked No. 5 with an estimated 525,000 illegal immigrants in 2009, more than the approximately 475,000 in the state in 2008, reports the Chicago Tribune. The total number of illegal immigrants in the country was estimated to be about to 11.1 million in 2009, according to the report.

The study found that other Midwestern states, including Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan, saw small increases, while states in the southeast and southwest, including Florida, Nevada and Virginia, saw the largest declines.  California -- which still has the highest number of illegal immigrants with 2.5 million -- saw a slight decline.

Unlike many states that have experienced a clear peak and decline, Illinois' immigration population has fluctuated over the last two decades, growing from 200,000 to 475,000 from 1990 to 2000 and then dropping to 350,000 by 2005.

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