U.S. States with the Fewest Immigrants

Name the states that have the lowest percentage of residents who were born outside of the United States.
2019 estimates. U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey.
Quiz by joez
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Last updated: September 18, 2020
First submittedDecember 5, 2016
Times taken20,612
Rating4.46
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%
State
1.6
West Virginia
2.1
Mississippi
2.3
Montana
3.1
Wyoming
3.6
Alabama
%
State
3.9
Maine
4.1
South Dakota
4.1
North Dakota
4.2
Louisiana
4.3
Missouri
+7
Level 46
Aug 15, 2017
Missed Maine and West Virginia.
+2
Level 46
Oct 6, 2020
how
+32
Level 27
Nov 1, 2020
because he missed them
+2
Level 62
Nov 26, 2017
Very interesting quiz!
+20
Level 84
Nov 11, 2018
Always go for Mississippi and West Virginia in certain categories.
+3
Level 73
Nov 3, 2020
Which? 😏
+3
Level 66
Dec 27, 2018
West Virginia I can understand given where it is and its industries not as robust as they once were. Mississippi and Alabama though are on the Gulf which I thought would promote more immigration than it apparently does. There's also a fair amount of farming in both of those states which often means an influx of migrant workers who are known to overstay. Since there's no direct link to the data source it's hard to know what's being counted as a "resident".
+6
Level ∞
Sep 18, 2020
Table R0501 here found: here. Not sure the exact methodology used. Counting illegal immigrants is very difficult. I know I wouldn't be eager to talk to the government if I didn't have a valid visa.
+3
Level 58
Oct 12, 2020
That happens because the southern states are the least developed, so there are few people wanting to live there.
+1
Level 66
Nov 3, 2020
There seems to be a correlation, but I am a little skeptical of that rationale because, as martay noted, the agriculture industries in Mississippi and Alabama famously use a lot of migrant labor. I'm sure most people would prefer to go to other states, but once they're here and they begin to set up lives, it's probably harder to pick up and move.
+3
Level 84
Dec 31, 2018
Missouri's surprising with an affordable entry level hell hole in St. Louis.
+1
Level 63
Jan 7, 2019
I am curious to hear on what grounds your opinion of St. Louis is based? If it is the murder rate, you need to do more research on what is considered the "city". The St. Louis area has over 3 million residents. Only ~350,000 of those residents actually reside within the city limits, and the per capita murder rate is based on just this small area. The city limits contain some of the roughest neighborhoods. If our "city" encompassed the metro area, we would rank much lower than Detroit.
+3
Level 84
Jan 16, 2019
No, I'm talking about the abandoned desolation, 1/3 its 1950 population, urban prairie, 3 houses left on 4 blocks, decrepit city, not some suburb. Right, wrong, whatever that's the type of place where a lot of unsuspecting immigrants first wind up because it's cheap. If you seriously don't think St. Louis is one of the most devastated urban spots in America, start travelling.
+4
Level 78
Apr 30, 2019
Well, I don't to need to start traveling - I worked for an airline for almost 30 years and there are very few US cities that I haven't been in. I grew up in Southeast Missouri and am very familiar with St Louis. I don't have any special love or even loyalty for the city, but I don't find it to be any better or worse than many other major urban area in the US. For the last 12 years, I've worked for HUD so I've seen some pretty bad areas and St Louis is actually better than many.
+2
Level 84
Sep 25, 2020
I tried every bordering state except Illinois with no luck so assumed Missouri was out, too. Only one I missed.
+1
Level 84
Sep 19, 2020
So what immigrant community is filling Idaho? I'm guessing there are no Irish potato famine refugees coming in at this point.
+3
Level 71
Sep 20, 2020
Boise is a decently large city, and there are a lot of people just across the border from Spokane and Logan. I assume that's where the majority of the immigrants come from. Also, there still isn't too large of an immigrant population, just more than the 4.3% needed to be on the quiz. 1 in 20 isn't a lot.
+1
Level 58
Oct 12, 2020
Yes, I'm from Spokane but I currently live in the suburbs of Boise.
+3
Level 79
Sep 22, 2020
immigrants must not like the M states
+1
Level 46
Oct 6, 2020
massachusetts
+3
Level 84
Sep 25, 2020
Not too many surprises for me, but for some reason I expected to see Alaska on this quiz. Apparently immigrants comprised 8% of the population in 2018. I wondered where they were coming from, so I did a little research. According to the American Immigration Council:

"The top countries of origin for immigrants were the Philippines (32 percent of immigrants), Mexico (10 percent), Canada (7 percent), Thailand (7 percent), and Korea (5 percent)."

+1
Level 57
Oct 11, 2020
Once again, another terrible thing about West Virginia.
+2
Level 43
Nov 1, 2020
I'm from there and it's a charming place but it's really underdeveloped and there isn't much in the way of jobs. it's the only state not to really grow in population since WW2 despite us adding many tens of millions of people to the nation and a comparably high birthrate. People move out quick for work (like me) because unless you want to work in timber, natural gas, or coal (none of which has a particularly rosy growth outlook) there really isn't much else there anymore outside of a couple small cities on the edge of the state and the geography/Infrastructure doesn't lend itself to economically feasible redevelopment
+1
Level 66
Nov 3, 2020
I am pro-immigrant philosophically, but I don't think having a low percentage of immigrants is per se a "terrible thing." There are different reasons these states have low immigration figures. It might be anti-immigrant bias. Or it might just be lack of employment opportunity or lack of established immigrant communities in the first place. Most immigrants would rather go where they have a community than go somewhere they don't, so it becomes cyclical.
+2
Level 63
Nov 1, 2020
aka the best
+6
Level 82
Nov 1, 2020
racist much? This is more like a list of all the states that nobody wants to move to.
+2
Level 71
Nov 1, 2020
I'm not sure about that. Wyoming, Montana, Maine, and South Dakota top my list of states I'd like to move to. I think it's much more about ease of access and major population centers than where people want to live.
+2
Level 68
Nov 1, 2020
I agree. It makes sense that people would be more likely to immigrate to larger urban areas where there are more jobs and housing.
+1
Level 82
Nov 1, 2020
Ease of access and major population centers are big factors in determining where people want to live... it usually translates into a healthier economy. If you are the Unabomber, then, yeah, Wyoming is probably your cup of tea. If you are the 99% of other people looking for decent-paying jobs, then no...
+1
Level 82
Nov 1, 2020
and this probably goes double for immigrants who are often coming to the United States for economic reasons. And when they aren't, they might want to move to where they have family which is probably in larger cities.
+2
Level 72
Nov 1, 2020
There are a lot of red states on this list. If there's a correlation between voting Republican and fear/hatred/distaste for immigrants, then seeing a correlation between low immigrant numbers and such fear, etc. is interesting.
+2
Level 66
Nov 3, 2020
I did think it was odd that the states that have such pronounced anti-immigrant views are the ones showing up on this list (and...Maine). I suspect the majority of those who are staunchly anti-immigrant have very little actual contact with immigrants.
+1
Level 82
Nov 5, 2020
That's often how it works, jmellor. Just like the people who hate gays the most are the ones who don't know any (that are openly).
+1
Level 40
Nov 1, 2020
Surprised Alaska is not on there.
+2
Level 66
Nov 3, 2020
Northern Exposure has a huge following in Mexico. Bet that explains it.
+1
Level 50
Nov 5, 2020
It's Canadians