Immigration Population Up Says Census

Colorado saw a 28 percent increase in immigrants living in American households over the past five years, higher than the national average of 16 percent, according to a report in today’s New York Times based on new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Most of the increase can be attributed to people coming from Mexico.

Meanwhile, nearly 20 percent of Colorado is now Latino, reports the Denver Post, based on Census data. The Latino population grew from 760,078 in 2001 to an estimated 901,614.

Immigration experts quoted noted that the trend is toward immigrants heading to states where they haven’t before. South Dakota had a 44 percent rise; Delaware 32 percent; Missouri 31 percent, and New Hampshire 26 percent. The figures come from the 2005 American Community Survey, which measures household population.

“The biggest thing that drives immigration to specific destinations is that the immigrant already knows someone who is living there,” Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, told the New York Times. (That’s certainly was the case with my family. When my grandfather immigrated from the Ukraine in the early 20th century, he followed relatives first to Pittsburgh and then to Cleveland, Ohio, where there was a burgeoning Jewish community.)

As always with immigration, the immediate question is-what kind of effect does this trend have on others? Not much when it comes to workers, according to a study released last week by the Pew Hispanic Center, which concludes that rapid increases in the foreign-born population at the state level “are not associated with negative effects on the employment of native-born workers.” The study says:

An analysis of the relationship between growth in the foreign-born population and the employment outcomes of native-born workers revealed wide variations across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. No consistent pattern emerges to show that native-born workers suffered or benefited from increased numbers of foreign-born workers.

In 2000, nearly 25% of native-born workers lived in states where rapid growth in the foreign-born population between 1990 and 2000 was associated with favorable outcomes for the native born. Meanwhile, only 15% of native-born workers resided in states where rapid growth in the foreign-born population was associated with negative outcomes for the native born. The remaining 60% of native-born workers lived in states where the growth in the foreign-born population was below average, but those native workers did not consistently experience favorable employment outcomes. The same results emerged from the analysis of data for 2000 to 2004.