NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 5, 2007

Immigrants have long have flocked to major metropolitan areas and helped them grow. But increasingly, native-born Americans are moving from those areas and leaving immigrants to provide the only source of growth, says the Associated Press.

According to Census Bureau figures:

  • The New York metro area, which includes the suburbs, added 1 million immigrants from 2000 to 2006; without those immigrants, the region would have lost nearly 600,000 people.
  • Without immigration, the Los Angeles metro area would have lost more than 200,000, the San Francisco area would have lost 188,000 and the Boston area would have lost 101,000.

Among the Bureau's other findings:

  • Atlanta added more people than any other metro area from 2000 to 2006; the area, which includes Sandy Springs and Marietta, Ga., added 890,000 people, putting its population at about 5.1 million.
  • Gaining the most after Atlanta were Dallas-Fort Worth (842,000), Houston (825,000), Phoenix (787,000) and Riverside, Calif. (771,000).
  • On a percentage basis, St. George in southwest Utah was the fastest growing metro area from 2000 to 2006; St. George's population jumped by 40 percent, to 126,000.
  • Houston edged past Miami to become the sixth largest metro area, with about 5.5 million people.

The reaction to the data has been mixed, says the Associated Press.  Many demographers associate shrinking populations with economic problems, typically poor job markets or prohibitive housing prices.  But others disagree, questioning whether a stable, or even a shrinking population is bad, citing concerns about congestion, sprawl and pollution.

Source: Editorial, "Without immigrants, metro areas would shrink,", April 5, 2007.

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