Immigration is clearly a cornerstone of American life, something that has built the country since it was founded. Exactly where those immigrants come from, however, has changed drastically over the years. Where do they come from in the modern era?

Statistics show that the majority of immigrants come from Mexico, the United States’ closest neighbor to the south. That is largely unchanged over time. Mexico ranked No. 1 in immigration in 1990 and still ranked No. 1 in 2017.

Below that, things have definitely shifted. For instance, Canada was No. 5 in 1990, but it fell seven spots to No. 12 in 2017. The United Kingdom was No. 8 in 1990, but it dropped all the way to No. 15 in 2017. Clearly, far fewer people from these areas are coming to the U.S.

Which counties replaced these to keep immigration going strong? China ranked No. 2 in 2017. That was an increase, but not by much, as China was at No. 4 in 1990.

The biggest increase came from India. Back in 1990, India only ranked at No. 13. In 2017, it had jumped all the way to No. 3, for an increase of 10 spots. No other country in the top 15 made that large of a jump. The closest was Guatemala, which ranked at No. 19 in 1990 and increased eight spots to No. 11 in 2017.

Understanding these trends and where immigrants come from can indicate the overall population picture in the United States. At the same time, those seeking to come to the U.S. from other countries must have a thorough understanding of all of the legal steps they’ll need to take.