Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Immigrants Injecting Life Into the Rust Belt

Immigrants have always helped this country, now they are especially helping cities that have lost much of their populations and are in decline.- - Donna Poisl

By Andrew Wainer

Amid the debate over potentially the biggest reform of immigration law in 50 years, American communities struggling with decades of population loss and economic decline are being revitalized by newcomers. The economic contribution of immigrants in high-skilled fields is relatively well known, but less acknowledged are the contributions that blue-collar immigrants play in revitalizing depressed communities and economies, both as manual laborers and small-business entrepreneurs.

Andrew Wainer is a senior immigration-policy analyst for the Bread for the World Institute.In Rust Belt places such as Baltimore, Detroit, and rural southeastern Iowa, immigration has slowed—and in some cases reversed—decades of population loss. In July 2012, after 60 years of population decline, the Census Bureau reported an increase in Baltimore's population. The increase was attributed in part to growing international migration. Detroit is infamous for its population decline, which has continued since 1950. But it would be worse if it were not for the influx of immigrants from Latin America. Between 2000 and 2010 Detroit lost 237,000 residents—25 percent of the total population in just 10 years. But the city's southwest immigrant neighborhoods, an area known as "Mexicantown" actually increased in population. While the city lost 41,000 whites and more than 185,000 blacks during this decade, it gained 1,512 Latinos.
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