Last updated on: 1/27/2016 | Author: ProCon.org

Unaccompanied Immigrant Children – Demographic Data

Research on the Unauthorized Minors Arriving at US Border Crossings

Between Oct. 2010 and Sep. 2015, the US Border Patrol apprehended 206,669 unaccompanied immigrant children crossing into the United States, with over 56% of the children crossing via the Rio Grande Valley station in Edinburg, Texas. Over 92% of the children were from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. About 72% of the children were male, and approximately 72% were 15 to 17 years old.

Unaccompanied immigrant children, also referred to as unaccompanied alien children by some government agencies, are children up to 17 years old who have attempted to cross into the United States illegally without an adult. Primarily from Central America and arriving though the US/Mexico border, children who are apprehended by US Border Patrol are transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which is an office of the Department of Health and Human Services. ORR releases the children to sponsors, preferably a parent, legal guardian, or another adult family member in the United States, and arranges legal representation while the children await immigration proceedings.

The data below, from the ORR and the US Border Patrol, are calculated by fiscal years, which run from October to September.


  1. Unaccompanied Immigrant Children by Age
  2. Unaccompanied Immigrant Children by Gender
  3. Unaccompanied Immigrant Children by Country of Origin
  4. Apprehension of Unaccompanied Immigrant Children by Border and Border Patrol Station
  5. US State to which Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Were Released to Sponsors

I. Unaccompanied Immigrant Children by Age
Note: This graphic averages the percentages from 2011-2015.
Age20112012201320142015
0-1211%11%14%21%17%
13-1410%11%13%16%14%
15-1638%39%40%36%38%
1740%38%34%27%30%

II. Unaccompanied Immigrant Children by Gender
Note: This graphic averages the percentages from 2012-2015.
Gender2012201320142015
Female23%27%34%32%
Male77%73%66%68%

III. Unaccompanied Immigrant Children by Country of Origin: Where They Come From
Note: This graphic averages the percentages from 2012-2015.
Country of Origin2012201320142015
El Salvador27%26%29%29%
Guatemala34%37%32%45%
Honduras27%30%34%17%
Mexico8%3%<2%6%
All Other Countries4%5%<3%3%

IV. Apprehension of Unaccompanied Immigrant Children by Border and Border Patrol Station
Border &
Border Patrol Station
201020112012201320142015Total
Coastal Border Total894228446551319
Miami, FL572718282820178
New Orleans, LA28145112126105
Ramey in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico415516536
Northern Border Total1227650302514317
Blaine, WA1481283247
Buffalo, NY462518572103
Detroit, MI33211061475
Grand Forks, ND147244334
Havre, MT3300107
Houlton, ME0010012
Spokane, WA23232012
Swanton, VT109547237
Southwest Border Total18,41115,94924,40338,75968,54139,970206,033
Big Bend National Park, TX1971891681252568391,744
Del Rio, TX1,0141,1131,6182,1353,2682,28511,433
El Centro in Imperial, CA4484574984346626683,167
El Paso, TX1,0116976597441,0291,6625,802
Laredo, TX1,5701,6082,6583,7953,8002,45915,890
Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg, TX4,9775,23610,75921,55349,95923,864116,348
San Diego in Chula Vista, CA9805495246569541,0844,747
Tucson, AZ7,9985,8787,2399,0708,2626,01944,466
Yuma, AZ2162222802473511,0902,406
Total18,62216,06724,48138,83368,63140,035206,669

V. US State to which Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Were Released to Sponsors: Where They End Up
 Total Number of Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Released
State20142015
Total53,51527,520
Alabama786813
Alaska42
Arizona295169
Arkansas307184
California5,8313,576
Colorado426242
Connecticut552207
Delaware212145
DC375198
Florida5,4452,885
Georgia2,0471,028
Hawaii82
Idaho1911
Illinois552301
Indiana448233
Iowa235200
Kansas312247
Kentucky413270
Louisiana1,755465
Maine174
Maryland3,8841,784
Massachusetts1,372723
Michigan193130
Minnesota304244
Mississippi290204
Missouri222169
Montana12
Nebraska351286
Nevada228139
New Hampshire3514
New Jersey2,6801,440
New Mexico4118
New York5,9552,615
North Carolina2,064833
North Dakota42
Ohio635476
Oklahoma377225
Oregon115120
Pennsylvania660333
Rhode Island203180
South Carolina588292
South Dakota4862
Tennessee1,294757
Texas7,7093,209
Utah11962
Vermont31
Virginia3,8871,676
Washington391285
West Virginia3012
Wisconsin8539
Wyoming86

Sources:

US Border Patrol, “US Border Patrol Total Monthly UAC Apprehensions by Sector (FY 2010-FY 2015),” www.cbp.gov (accessed Jan. 29, 2016)

US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement, “Unaccompanied Children’s Services,” www.acf.hhs.gov (accessed Jan. 29, 2016)