The data used to create the map are from the Department of Homeland Security. In 2012, slightly more than 1 million people were granted legal permanent resident status in the U.S. (Legal permanent residents may also be referred to as “permanent resident aliens” or “green card holders.”) About 15 percent of these new immigrants are from Mexico. China and India come in second and third with roughly 8 and 6 percent of 2012’s new legal permanent residents.
What happens when we remove Mexico from the sample?
Now we see a lot more variance, with India, the Philippines, and Myanmar (also known as Burma) taking up much of the map. It’s important to note that the number of immigrants in each state can vary widely. In 2012, California had the most new legal permanent residents, with more than 196,000. Wyoming had just 427.
In terms of the number of immigrants relative to population, West Virginia had the smallest influx. Here’s an example of how viral maps can be misleading: While Filipinos represented the plurality of the immigrants in West Virginia, every state that West Virginia borders (Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland) had more Filipino immigrants relative to their populations than West Virginia did. That’s not reflected in the map, though, because people from India and (in the case of Kentucky) Cuba outnumbered Filipinos in those states.
See more of Slate’s maps.