The total number of green cards issued per year per preference category is an important data point for people waiting in line for a green card. Together with the pending I-485 inventory, we can estimate our wait time with (slightly) better accuracy.
The data below contain green card statistics released every year by the Department of State. We re-arranged them by preference category so that they match the format of visa bulletins. The data include both immigrant visas issued by DOS through consular processing, and I-485 Adjustment of Status applications processed by USCIS. Primary applicants and their derivative dependents are all covered, including both employment-based and family-sponsored categories. What is not included in the data is groups not subject to visa number limitations, such as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens.
The total number of green cards issued is for a given fiscal year, which runs from October 1 to September 30. Obviously, it would be best if we had the monthly breakdown, but that information is not available. And we know the number of applications processed each month doesn't stay consistent at all throughout the year. In addition, other factors such as "visa number spill-over" can significantly change the total count from one year to another. These must be taken into consideration when the data are used for any type of calculations or analyses.