What We Do
The California Immigrant Data Portal is a project of the University of Southern California’s Equity Research Institute (ERI), formerly known as the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII). ERI carries forward CSII's immigrant inclusion work to: promote narratives to support the integration of diverse immigrant and U.S.-born communities; lift up the intersection of racial justice and immigrant rights; and strengthen the base for inter-sectoral collaborations.
Since 2008, the Institute’s immigrant inclusion work brings together three emphases: scholarship that draws on academic theory and rigorous research; data that provides information structured to highlight the process of immigrant inclusion over time; and engagement that seeks to create new dialogues with government, community organizers, business and civic leaders, immigrants, and the voting public.
Learn more about our Immigrant Integration and Racial Justice work here.
Our perspective on immigrant inclusion is anchored by three guiding principles:
First, immigrant inclusion is everyone’s business. Over 10.5 million Californians are immigrants, living and working in every county in the state. Honoring their presence in our communities through implementing programs and policies that improve the well-being of immigrants and their families not only improves their lives in real ways but also creates ripple effects, improving neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and beyond, for both immigrants and U.S.-born residents.
Second, successful immigrant inclusion can only happen when we lift up racial justice and address longstanding inequities. After all, inclusion efforts are often stymied by anti-immigrant sentiment and policy-making which is rooted in racism. Moreover, immigrant inclusion does not mean that immigrants should “hopscotch” over other groups on their way to success but rather work together to address common challenges facing immigrants and Californians of color, including over-incarceration, worker exploitation, discrimination, and a lack of political power. Immigrant inclusion is part of a broader social justice agenda that seeks to create a better future for everyone in our state.
Third, California must lead on immigrant inclusion and seek to provide a model for the rest of the nation. California’s willingness to invest in both those who are here, and the newly arrived, has led the state to become the fifth largest economy in the world. Continuing to build a state that is a welcoming place will not only benefit the next generation of immigrant families, but will grow our economy and build a more stable future for all. Because of this, we must not just resist anti-immigrant policies and attitudes but also lead with big and bold ideas to continually strive to improve the lives of immigrants and others in the Golden State.
California's Native Nations
The land that we now call California is located within the ancestral homelands of over 150 California Native American Tribes.1 Today, California is home to the largest population of Native Americans in the United States. While the state is home to many Indigenous groups, including people from Tribal Nations that were the original inhabitants of what we now call California (map), there are also many Native Americans from other regions of what we now call the United States (representing hundreds of non-Californian Tribes and Native Nations, many of whom were forced into California and Californian urban areas via U.S. policies and actions, such as the Indian Relocation Act), Indigenous immigrants (including Canadian First Nations and Inuit, Mexican, Central and South American Indigenous peoples, and Pacific Islander nations and people), many of whom were also forced into California as a result of U.S. policies and actions abroad.
While this website provides data on immigrant, migrant, and refugee communities, we recognize that California is home to Native Nations on whose land we are living. We want to challenge the uplifting but inaccurate narrative that the state was “built by immigrants.” Instead, we want to acknowledge that the land we reside on was taken by a settler-colonial society that exploited native, immigrant, migrant, and enslaved people – stealing labor, knowledge, and skills – to build what we now call California. Immigrant communities, like U.S.-born Californians, must grapple with what it means to live on stolen land, understand our role and responsibilities as guests on Native American homelands, and be committed to supporting the struggle for Native Nations’ sovereignty and self-determination.
Some resources to learn more about California’s Native Nations:
- Early California Laws and Policies Related to California Indians by Kimberly Johnston-Dodds, California Research Bureau, 2002
- Our Sacred Waters: Theorizing Kuuyam as a Decolonial Possibility by Charles Sepulveda, August 30, 2018
- What John Muir Missed: The Uniqueness of California Indians by Lawrence Hogue, KCET, September 16, 2016
- What Environmental Justice Means in Indian Country by Dina Gilio-Whitaker, March 6, 2017
- California Tribal Communities data on the California Courts website
- Native American data on the Bay Area Equity Atlas
- Native American Heritage Commission
- California Native Vote Project
- United American Indian Involvement
- Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples
- Native Data Sovereignty Can Address Data Gaps and Improve Equity
Urban Indian Health Institute’s 2016 Community Health Profile for California
1 California Public Resources Code Section 21073. “California Native American tribe” means a Native American tribe located in California that is on the contact list maintained by the Native American Heritage Commission for the purposes of Chapter 905 of the Statutes of 2004.
The California Immigrant Data Portal draws data from a variety of federal, state, and local sources to better understand California’s diverse immigrant population, and the context for immigrant inclusion along key measures of economic mobility, warmth of welcome, and civic participation. The portal provides decades of data for counties, sub-county areas, cities, and the state overall that are geographically consistent over time and disaggregated by immigration status, race, and ancestry. For indicators based on the 5-year American Community Survey (ACS), the most recent data point is 2019 (representing a 2015-2019 average). While the 2020 5-year ACS was available at the time of our last update to the data, we opted not to utilize it due to the sizeable undercount of immigrants in 2020 that has been well-documented by Robert Warren of the Center for Migration Studies.
- Lexie Abrahamian (former graduate student researcher)
- Sarah Balcha (former data analyst)
- Matthew Le Bui (former graduate student researcher)
- Antonio Elizondo (former graduate student researcher)
- Lance Hilderbrand (former data management specialist)
- Carlos Ibarra (former graduate student researcher)
- Fernando Moreno (former graduate student researcher)
- Margarita Obregon (former student researcher)
- Carolina Otero (former graduate student researcher)
- Dawy Rkasnuam (former graduate student researcher)
- Rebecca Smith (former graduate student researcher)
- Emma Yudelevitch (former Project Assistant)
The USC Equity Research Institute (the merger of two USC-based centers, the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity and the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration) provides forward-looking, actionable research to support community-based organizations, funders, and other stakeholders. ERI’s accurate, community-centered data and analysis are the basis of new narratives for equity. Our forward looking, actionable research supports the ecosystem of change by identifying new opportunities for investments, solidarity, and power building. To learn more about our team and the work we do, visit our website.
We are grateful to following people for taking time to provide valuable guidance and feedback on the development of this website (organization affiliation at the time of interview/input):
- Daniel Ichinose, AAPI Civic Engagement Fund
- Norma Chavez-Peterson, ACLU – San Diego
- John Kim, Advancement Project
- Erin Grassi, Alliance San Diego
- Angela Chan, Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus
- Anthony Ng, Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles
- Angelica Peña and Christine Chen, Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles
- Miya Yoshitani and Laiseng Saechao, Asian Pacific Environmental Network
- Nana Gyamfi, Benjamin Ndugga-Kabuye, and Mustafa Jumale, Black Alliance for Just Immigration
- Chris Hoene, Sara Kimberlin, Jonathan Kaplan, Adriana Ramos-Yamamoto, Amy Rose, Aureo Mesquita, and Monica Davalos, California Budget and Policy Center
- Sabrina Smith, California Calls
- Rosie Arroyo, California Community Foundation
- Cassie Gardener Manjikian and Tiffany Eng, California Environmental Justice Alliance
- Cynthia Buiza and Almas Sayeed, California Immigrant Policy Center
- Maricela Morales, CAUSE Now (Central Coast United for a Sustainable Economy)
- Elsa Barboza, Center for Community Change
- Jesus Martinez, Central Valley Immigrant Integration Coalition
- Angelica Salas and Apolonio Morales, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights
- Pablo Rodriguez, Communities for a New California
- Alberto Retana, Community Coalition
- Hussam Ayloush, Council on American-Islamic Relations
- Diego Sepulveda and George Chacon, Dream Resource Center at the UCLA Labor Center
- Cathy Cha, Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund
- Jorge Gutierrez, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement
- Javier Hernandez, Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice
- Jessica Meaney, Investing in Place
- Michele Prichard, Liberty Hill
- Robin Toma and Terri Villa-McDowell, Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission
- Chrissie Castro, Los Angeles County Native American Indian Commission
- Carolina Sheinfeld, Los Angeles County Office of Education
- Araceli Campos, Miguel Contreras Foundation
- Josh Hoyt, National Partnership for New Americans
- Richard Whipple, Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs, City and County of San Francisco
- Ramla Sahid, Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans
- Joseph McKellar, PICO California
- Josh Kirshenbaum, Sarah Treuhaft, PolicyLink
- Luis Sánchez, Power California
- Angela Mooney D'Arcy, Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples
- Dinora Reyna, San Diego Organizing Project
- Kham Moua, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center
- Gloria Walton, Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education
- Victor Narro, UCLA Labor Center
- René Williams, United American Indian Involvement, Inc.
- Melany De La Cruz-Viesca, University of California, Los Angeles Asian American Studies Center
- Karthick Ramakrishnan and Marlenee Blas, University of California, Riverside Center for Social Innovation
- Jody Agius Vallejo, University of Southern California
- Emily Ryo, University of Southern California
- traci ishigo, Vigilant Love
- Phal Sok, Youth Justice Coalition
Thank you to our funders:
- The James Irvine Foundation
- The California Wellness Foundation
- The California Endowment
- Weingart Foundation
- Open Society Foundations
- Bank of America
Still have questions? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Stay up to date on upcoming CA Immigrant Data Portal updates and webinars by subscribing to our updates mailing list here.
- Twitter: @ERI_USC
- Instagram: @ERI_USC
- Facebook: EQUITYRESEARCHINSTITUTE