Top U.S. Cities for Immigrants


Aug 3, 2017


Among U.S. cities with more than 200,000 residents, New York City has the greatest population of immigrants, with nearly 3 million foreign-born residents, accounting for 35.7 percent of a total population of 8.4 million, according to U.S. Census figures published in 2009. Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston all have large immigrant populations as well, ranging from 20.6 percent (Chicago) to 39.7 percent (Los Angeles.)

The city with the highest proportion of foreign-born residents in 2009, though, was Hialeah, Florida, a suburb of Miami. More than 74 percent of Hialeah’s residents are foreign-born — the majority of them migrants from Cuba. Miami itself is the only other major U.S. city in which over half of its residents are foreign-born. In both Fremont, California and Santa Ana, California, immigrants make up more than 40 percent of the population. The California cities of San Jose, Anaheim, Irvine, San Francisco, and Chula Vista all have immigrant populations of over 30 percent.

Nearly half of all large U.S. cities have immigrant populations greater than 15 percent. The large U.S. city with the lowest proportion of foreign-born residents is Montgomery, Alabama. Of the city’s 201,465 residents in 2009, just 5,454 (2.7 percent) were born outside the U.S. Birmingham, Alabama, Toledo and Cincinnati in Ohio, and Chesapeake, Virginia round out the bottom five, all with immigrant populations of less than 4.5 percent.


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