Reuters

The metros where new American citizens live now.

Immigration is a powerful driver of the economic growth and development of American cities and metros. As many of half of all recent Silicon Valley start-ups count a foreign-born American as a member of their founding team, according to recent studies.

The map below, from my Martin Prosperity Institute colleague Zara Matheson, shows the number of newly naturalized American citizens by metro. It's based on newly released data from the United States Office of Immigration Statistics on foreign nationals who were naturalized as American citizens in 2011. 

Note the huge bubbles in the Bos-Wash corridor, greater Miami, Chicago and Northern and Southern California:

Below are the metropolitan regions with the most naturalized citizens in 2011. New York tops the list, followed by Los Angeles and Miami.

  1. New York City - 99,153 (14.3 percent of total)
  2. Los Angeles - 62,373 (9 percent)
  3. Miami - 55,560 (8 percent)
  4. Chicago - 27,670 (4 percent)
  5. San Francisco - 22,046 (3.2 percent)
  6. Washington, D.C. - 20,591 (3 percent)
  7. Boston - 18,834 (2.7 percent)
  8. Houston - 18,467 (2.7 percent)
  9. Dallas - 16,048 (2.3 percent)
  10. Atlanta - 14,335 (2.1 percent)

According to the statistics, 51 percent of all new citizens (aged 18 years or older) naturalized in 2011 live in these ten metros.

Three of these top ten metros (Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.) have a majority of immigrants who are highly-skilled (they have a college degree or higher), according to a Brookings report, while four of them (Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, New York) have an immigrant workforce that is balanced between low (didn't finish high school) and high-skill labor. 

When we control for total population size (by looking at the number of naturalized citizens per 100,000) the picture changes, as the map below illustrates. While the East and West Coasts still boast significant concentrations, the bubbles are not quite so large, and there are dots across the interior of the country. 

Now Miami tops the list, with San Jose second. Greater New York drops to fourth, San Francisco is fifth and L.A. seventh. Here's the top ten based on newly naturalized citizens per 100,000 people.

  1. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL - 998
  2. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA - 615
  3. El Centro, CA - 584
  4. New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA - 525
  5. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA - 509
  6. Naples-Marco Island, FL - 495
  7. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA - 486
  8. Stockton, CA - 444
  9. Trenton-Ewing, NJ - 426
  10. Merced, CA - 425
     

As I've long argued, when we make immigration more difficult, America loses out on innovation and entrepreneurship to other countries.

President Obama's executive order last week to stop deporting some young undocumented immigrants is a move in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go.

Top image: Reuters/Mike Segar

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    How Seattle Bucked a National Trend and Got More People to Ride the Bus

    Three experts in three very different positions weigh in on their city’s ridership success.

  2. Equity

    The Side Pittsburgh Doesn't Want You to See

    Pittsburgh filmmaker Chris Ivey has spent over twelve years documenting the lives of the people displaced so that the city can achieve its “cool” status.  

  3. Transportation

    If You Drive Less Than 10,000 Miles a Year, You Probably Shouldn't Own a Car

    Up to one-quarter of all U.S. drivers might be better off using ride-sharing services instead.

  4. Construction workers build affordable housing units.
    Equity

    Why Is 'Affordable' Housing So Expensive to Build?

    As costs keep rising, it’s becoming harder and harder for governments to subsidize projects like they’ve done in the past.

  5. Etiquette

    9 Annoying Things That Ruin Community Meetings, According to Absolutely Everyone

    Step away from the mic.