A new study ranks Kentucky among the states with big declines in unauthorized immigrant populations in recent years.
The Pew Research Center study shows Kentucky's undocumented immigrant population dropped from an estimated 50,000 in 2009 to 35,000 in 2012. That matches the estimated population in 2005 but is well above the estimated 5,000 unauthorized immigrants in Kentucky in 1990.
The study says the recent decline is due to fewer unauthorized immigrants coming from Mexico.
The research says unauthorized immigrants make up less than 1 percent of Kentucky's population and 1.2 percent of its labor force. Both numbers are well below the national average.
State Sen. Paul Hornback says the construction slowdown due to the recession contributed to the decline, as did a greater reliance on a temporary visa worker program by farmers.