Immigrant Gateways

This is part of a series of reflections on a conference I attended last weekend in Cleveland: "The Changing Face of Cities," organized ...
by | May 10, 2007
 

This is part of a series of reflections on a conference I attended last weekend in Cleveland: "The Changing Face of Cities," organized by the Urban Libraries Council.

Ellisisland_2 Audrey Singer, Immigration Fellow at the Brookings Institution, spoke about her research on new geographic trends and settlement patterns, which she is presenting to Congress this week. Here are some highlights:

  • Only three cities--New York, Chicago and San Francisco--maintained their status as "gateway" cities for foreign immigrants throughout the 20th century.
  • Former gateways, which are no longer major destinations: Baltimore, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and St. Louis.
  • Post-WWII gateways: Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego and Miami.
  • Emerging gateways, which have experienced very recent and rapid growth: Atlanta, Dallas, Fort Worth Las Vegas, Orlando, Washington, D.C., and West Palm Beach.
  • Re-emerging gateways, which are once again major destinations: Denver, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Oakland, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Jose, Seattle and Tampa.
  • Pre-emerging gateways, which represent a new, more suburban context for immigrant integration: Austin, Charlotte, Greensboro-Winston Salem, Raleigh-Durham and Salt Lake City.

Not only has there been a recent shift away from traditional gateways toward places that have little history of foreign immigration, but most of these emerging and pre-emerging destinations are more suburban in form. Singer noted this trend is creating a whole new set of issues around housing, transportation, education and governance in those metro areas.

The complete version of Audrey Singer's data on immigrant gateways is available here.

 

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