This year, the Los Angeles Times in partnership with KFF, a nonprofit organization focused on health policy, carried out a groundbreaking, nationwide survey of the adult immigrant population. Yesterday (Sept. 17), The Times launched Immigrant Dreams, a series of articles, photos and videos based on the survey findings as well as work by Times reporters, photographers and graphic artists.
Conducted in 10 languages using a rigorously developed survey method, the poll was designed to fill significant gaps in what’s known about the roughly 1 in 6 U.S. adults who were born in other countries. Its size and comprehensiveness allows comparisons among immigrants of different national origins and among varied locations in the U.S. that were previously unavailable.
“The foreign-born population is near a record high for the past century, and immigration is one of the dominant issues in our politics,” said Senior Editor David Lauter, who led the project for The Times. “But a lot of what people say about immigrants is based on stereotype, guesswork or outright falsehood. Our goal with this project was to produce a body of facts about immigrants’ lives in the U.S. and to illustrate those facts by allowing immigrants to tell their own stories about their lives.”
The poll was no small feat. In an introduction, Lauter wrote, “Seventy-five thousand, eight hundred surveys mailed, more than 13,000 hours of phone interviews, translations into nine languages in addition to English: Conducting an accurate survey of the nation’s hugely diverse immigrant population required resources far beyond what’s needed for a typical poll.”
The survey findings offer numerous insights, including today’s story by Staff Writers Brittny Mejia, Jeong Park and Jack Herrera, which highlights the consistent optimism among immigrants of all national origins about their lives, despite the hardships that many face. Other key takeaways that The Times will explore in the series include: employment discrimination, the double burden of discrimination Black immigrants experience, political outlooks and more.