Pew: Undocumented population in Colorado leveling out

While Colorado’s population of undocumented immigrants more than quadrupled between the years 1990 and 2000, new census data analyzed by the nonprofit Pew Hispanic Center show that the state’s undocumented population has been stagnant since 2005, congruent with national trends.

The updated demographic figures have wide-ranging implications for future political debates on local economies, labor trends, public education and health care in Colorado which has some of the toughest immigration laws in the nation.

According to the March 2008 data, Colorado’s undocumented population has remained at roughly 240,000, or approximately 5 percent of the state’s population of 4 million.

Nationally, the total undocumented population has also stabilized to 11.9 million since 2005.

More from Pew:

Unauthorized immigrants are 30% of the nation’s foreign-born population of more than 39 million people. In 29 states, they are a higher share of immigrants and in eight of them the unauthorized immigrant population is about half or more of all immigrants.

The states where unauthorized immigrants are an above-average share of all immigrants tend to be relatively new immigrant destinations, such as Colorado, Nevada, Georgia and North Carolina.

Colorado ranks 12th in the nation in undocumented populations, far below the top-population states California (2.7 million) and Texas (1.45 million).

Yet, our state unauthorized immigrant population appears to be quite young. The data reveals that in Colorado, California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas, at least one-in-10 primary and secondary school students are children of undocumented parents.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at

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