Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Immigrant population has grown by 49 percent or more in 14 southern and western US states

In a new Spotlight on Immigrants in New-Destination States, Migration Policy Institute’s Aaron Terrazas examines the emerging trend of immigrants settling away from the traditional destinations of California, New York, Florida, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, and Massachusetts in favor of states in the southern and western regions of the country. Fourteen states in particular -- South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Delaware, Arkansas, South Dakota, Nevada, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Wyoming, Idaho, Indiana, and Mississippi -- experienced especially high rates of growth in the immigrant population over the past decade, and are thus being termed “new-destination” states for migrants.

Some highlights in the data include:

• Between 2000 and 2009, South Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee had the fastest growing immigrant populations of all new-destination states. South Carolina experienced 77 percent growth, while both Alabama and Tennessee had 67 percent growth.

• The unauthorized immigrant population in new-destination states grew by 80 percent between 2000 and 2010, from 905,000 to 1.6 million. In traditional-destination states this population grew more slowly over the same period, up by about 40 percent from 2000 levels.

• As of 2009, 42.0 percent of the 3.5 million foreign born residing in new-destination states entered the country since 2000, compared with 28.8 percent of immigrants in traditional-destination states.

• Immigrants in new-destination states are more likely than immigrants in traditional destinations to reside in a household with an annual income below the federal poverty line. Also, the poverty gap between immigrants and the native born is larger in new-destination states than it is in traditional-destination states.

More than 44 percent of the foreign born in new-destination states lacked health insurance coverage in 2009, compared with 14.8 percent of the native born in those same states and 33.5 percent of immigrants in traditional-destination states.



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