NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Latin Immigrants Flocking To Midwest Cities And Towns

March 16, 2000

Large numbers of Hispanic-Americans are forsaking traditional Latin enclaves in major metropolitan areas and settling in second-tier cities across the U.S. -- and particularly in Midwestern towns.

  • While about 60 percent of the U.S. Hispanic population -- about 18 million strong -- live in major metropolitan areas, about 13 million have chosen to settle in second-tier cities.
  • Among states with a foreign-born population of at least 50,000 in 1995, North Carolina led the nation with a 73 percent growth in its immigrant population in the second half of the 1990s.
  • Nevada followed with a 60 percent growth, then Kansas with 54 percent, Indiana at 50 percent and Minnesota at 43 percent.
  • Rounding out the top 10 were Virginia at 40 percent, Maryland with 39 percent, Arizona 35 percent, Utah 31 percent and Oregon at 26 percent.

Though little noticed, "that dispersal is one of the big stories of the 1990s," says Michael Fix, director of immigration studies for the Urban Institute.

That migration has had some interesting ramifications. Milwaukee has three local Hispanic newspapers. "Vision Latina" began publishing last year, aimed at Hispanics in Nebraska.

Immigrants find second-tier cities hospitable, with affordable homes, decent public schools and job opportunities -- particularly in Midwestern meatpacking plants, factories and foundries.

Source: Paulette Thomas, "In the Land of Bratwurst, a New Hispanic Boom," Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2000.


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