Data Byte: Digging Deeper on our Nation of Immigrants


Graphic Foreign Born Sarasota County Whatever your opinion on immigration reform, this is undoubtedly a hot topic right now with the roll-out of President Obama’s comprehensive immigration reform plan on Tuesday. Why is immigration reform such an important topic, and why should we be paying attention here in Sarasota County?

According to this study published by Pew Hispanic Center there are 40.4 million immigrants living here in the United States. Of those 40.4 million people, 11.1 million of these immigrants are undocumented (27.5%). We have more immigrants living here in the United States than any other country has: 13% of the people living in the US were born in another country. People immigrate to our country from all over the world. To see more detailed statistics about our immigrant population, check out this “portrait” of our immigrants, created by the Pew Hispanic Center using the data from the 2011 American Community Survey.

In Sarasota County, thirteen percent of our population of over 378,000 residents was born abroad and 13,730 of these immigrants have entered the U.S. since the year 2000. Over forty percent of immigrants living in Sarasota County are from Latin America, while almost thirty-seven percent are of European origin. These numbers show that there are more and more immigrants living among us—and many of them identify as Latino or Hispanic and are native Spanish speakers.

This month, SCOPE and UnidosNow are partnering to engage with the growing number of residents of Sarasota County who identify as Latino or Hispanic in the first of a series of community conversations to learn more about residents’ aspirations for the community. We look forward to sharing what we hear with you as we participate in these conversations. Stay tuned!

For more information on the Community Data Initiative, please contact Colleen McGue at