Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Immigrants Drawn to U.S. 'Boomtowns'

Several cities are drawing immigrants to their areas because of job growth. With the recent economic downturn, many of these cities are having problems, along with their immigrant population. DP

By the DiversityInc staff

Immigrants have been flocking to places high in job growth and low in the cost of living rather than cities traditionally associated with large immigrant populations, such as New York, Los Angeles and Miami, ABC News reports. Topping the list is the Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., area, which saw a 122 percent growth in its immigrant population between 2000 and 2007, according to the Brookings Institution.

Other cities with large increases in immigrants include Orlando, with a 64 percent increase, and Raleigh, N.C., with a 62 percent increase.

Raleigh, part of North Carolina's "research triangle," has seen growth in professional and scientific jobs, while Orlando, a major tourist destination, has seen growth in service jobs. The makeup of immigrant populations varies widely from city to city, ABC News reports.

In Phoenix, Ariz., 70 percent of the foreign-born population is from Latin America, while Nashville, Tenn., has one of the largest Kurdish populations in the country. In Columbus, Ohio, 40 percent of foreign-born people are from Asia.

But some of these boomtowns are now going bust--28 percent of immigrants in Cape Coral worked in the construction industry in 2007, which has been hard hit by the collapse of the housing market.

Las Vegas has been one of the fastest growing cities in the 21st century, seeing a 65 percent increase in its immigrant population between 2001 and 2007. But 58 percent of those immigrants work in construction or service jobs that are especially vulnerable in the current economic downturn. The rate of growth in immigration has already slowed, ABC News reports, and in some cases, immigrants may end up returning to their countries of origin.
Be sure to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

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