July 3, 2006

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Dr. Jennifer Van Hook

Dr. Jennifer Van Hook

BGSU demographer devising new method for estimating illegal immigrants

At a time of often heated debate about immigration, having a system to regularly provide estimates of the illegal immigrant population has probably never been more important.

A BGSU demographer and two colleagues have been developing a new method for producing those numbers with the support of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Dr. Jennifer Van Hook, sociology, has been awarded $166,000 by the census bureau for her work with Jeffrey Passel of the Pew Hispanic Center and Dr. Frank Bean from the University of California-Irvine. The grant represents a renewal of an award she and her colleagues first received in 2003.

The government says, and Van Hook concurs, that close to 11 million immigrants are now in the country illegally. About 57 percent of them are from Mexico, and the total number is estimated to be growing by 450,000 per year.

Arriving at those figures entails some assumptions, but Van Hook hopes to make them firmer using a method that provides a yearly look at immigration rather than a net picture estimated over the 10 years between censuses.


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