John Moore/Getty Images

A new study examines how sweeping changes to U.S. immigration policy have shaped the nation, and how immigrants will continue to play a central role for years to come.

The Pew Research Center reports that 59 million immigrants have come to the United States since the passage of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. The vast majority of people who immigrated to the U.S. before 1965 were European, but 51% of those who came after have been Latin American; about a quarter have come from Asia.

As a result of these changes, the Hispanic-American population has risen from 4% in 1965 to 18% in 2015. The Asian-American population has experienced a similar increase, up from fewer than 1% in 1965 to 6% in 2015.

One hundred immigrants become American citizens during a naturalization ceremony at Liberty State Park on Sept. 17, 2015 in Jersey City, N.J. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

By 2065—a year when no group will constitute a racial or ethnic majority, according to Pew—nearly one in four Americans will be of Hispanic origin, and Asian-Americans will make up a 14% share of the overall population.

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The year 2065 will also see a shift in the ethnic and racial makeup of people immigrating to the U.S. Asian immigrants will make up the largest share of the foreign-born population at 38%, while the Hispanic foreign-born population is predicted to drop to 31%.

One hundred immigrants become American citizens during a naturalization ceremony at Liberty State Park on Sept. 17, 2015 in Jersey City, N.J. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The Center also found that Americans have a far more positive view of Asian (47%) and European (44%) immigrants than they do of African (26%), Latin American (26%), and Middle Eastern (29%) immigrants.

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Nearly half of those polled felt that immigrants had positively impacted food, music, and the arts in the U.S., but 50% said that the foreign-born population had had a negative effect on the country's crime and economy.

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