The Department of Homeland Security has just released the Immigration Statistics Yearbook for 2009 which shows that a total of 1,130,818 people received permanent residence in 2009. The largest number was in the 20 to 34 year age group (141,060 people), followed by the 25 to 29 year old age group (136,807 people). 58% were married, 27% were single, and the remaining were widowed, divorced or separated.

Comparison by path to permanent residence:
535,554 were immediate relatives of U.S. citizens
211,859 were family-sponsored preference categories
144,034 were employment based categories
the remaining were diversity lottery, refugees and asylees, or other categories

Comparison by employment category:
40,924 were for 1st preference category
45,552 were for 2nd preference category
40,398 were for 3rd preference category
the remaining were for the 4th and 5th preference categories

Comparison by country for employment-based:
20,264 were for India
14,147 were for South Korea
11,295 were for China, People’s Republic
8,660 were for Mexico
8,516 were for the Philippines

The number of people who became permanent residents in 2009 was the second highest in the last 18 years — only 2006 had a higher number with 1,266,129 as compared to 1,130,818 in 2009. However, the number of those who obtained permanent residence through employment in 2009 was lower than many previous years. Only 44,336 obtained permanent residence in the 2nd preference category as compared to 68,832 in 2008 while the number of people who obtained permanent residence in the 3rd preference employment category was 1/2 or 1/3 of what it has been in most previous years in the past decade.

Comparison of 3rd preference employment to previous years:
33,525 in 2009
38,981 in 2008
62,642 in 2007
60,390 in 2006
109,713 in 2005 (due to legislation for Schedule A workers)
65,875 in 2004
26,962 in 2003

Interestingly, the Department of Homeland Security did not disclose how many people received permanent residence in the “Schedule A” category. The agency designated it as “D – Data withheld to limit disclosure”.