Kotkin: New Immigrant Hubs Are in the South
Demographer Joel Kotkin draws attention to a new study on America’s fastest growing immigration hubs, and the results are surprising:
Indeed an analysis of foreign born population by demographer Wendell Cox reveals that the fastest growth in the numbers of newcomers are actually in cities (metropolitan areas) not usually seen as immigrant hubs. The fastest growth in population of foreign born residents–more than doubling over the decade was #1 Nashville, a place more traditionally linked to country music than ethnic diversity. Today besides the Grand Old Opry, the city also boasts the nation’s largest Kurdish population, and a thriving “Little Kurdistan,” as well as growing Mexican, Somali and other immigrant enclaves.
Other cities are equally surprising, including #2 Birmingham, AL; #3 Indianapolis, IN; #4 Louisville, KY and#5 Charlotte, NC, all of which doubled their foreign born population between 2000 and 2011. Right behind them are #6 Richmond, VA, #7 Raleigh, NC, #8 Orlando, Fl, #9 Jacksonville, Fl and #10 Columbus, OH. All these states either voted for Mitt Romney last year or have state governments under Republican control. None easily fit the impression of liberally minded immigrant attracting bastions from only a decade ago.
True, these immigrant-attractive locales don’t fit the stereotype for red state resistance to open borders and amnesty. But it doesn’t necessarily follow that a red state’s overall population is comfortable with the rapidly changing demographics of its urban centers. While Kotkin is bullish on the economic benefits of increased immigration to many of the South’s growing metro areas, it will be interesting to see whether these red states can absorb and assimilate their new arrivals in ways that enhance their civic cultures and state budgets, not diminish them.