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America’s Newcomers

John R. Logan

Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research

University at Albany 

June 18, 2003


This report is based on data from the 1990 and 2000 Census of Population and the Census 2000 Supplemental Survey, analyzed by Mumford Center researchers Hyoung-jin Shin and Jacob Stowell.


The American metropolis is once again being reshaped by immigration.  The 2000 Census counted nearly 29 million immigrants living in metropolitan regions throughout the United States, up by 10 million since 1990.   This report summarizes what has been learned up to now from Census 2000 about these American Newcomers.  The major findings: 

  • Immigrants have a similar socioeconomic profile to that of persons of the same race/ethnicity born in the U.S.  Among blacks they are doing better than natives.  Among all groups they have a lower unemployment rate.
  • Immigration is unevenly distributed around the country.  Just 13 metropolitan regions including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and the San Francisco Bay Area house more than half the foreign-born population; most areas still have less than 10% foreign-born.
  • Immigrant growth in the suburbs (4.8 million increase) far surpasses growth in central cities (3.5 million increase).
  • Immigrants typically live in neighborhoods where about 30% of residents are immigrants and an even higher share of neighbors speak a language other than English at home.
  • There are only small differences in other characteristics of neighborhoods where immigrants live, compared to natives of the same racial or ethnic group.

Additional information on specific metropolitan areas can be found in webpages developed by the Mumford Center.  For data on the numbers of foreign-born persons, immigrants who arrived in the 1990-2000 decade, and persons who speak a language other than English at home, see the New Americans pages:

For data on immigration by race and Hispanic origin and information about the neighborhoods where these people live, see the Separate and Unequal pages:


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