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A Lifeline To Renewal: The Demographic Impact Of Immigration At State And Local Levels

by Rob Paral for The Immigration Policy Center

We have long known that immigration has different impacts in different states. Usually, however, this has been interpreted to mean that places with high immigrant numbers are heavily impacted by immigration, while areas with low numbers are not. However, immigrant numbers should be taken in the context of native population growth to better understand the impact of immigration. A state may have high immigration, but if it has high native population growth, some impacts of immigration are diminished. This fact may not change the attitudes and opinions of persons unhappy about immigration in booming areas of the south and west like North Carolina, Georgia, and Nevada. But the truth is that their immigrant numbers do not translate into the same level of impact as similar numbers in Michigan, Kansas, or New Jersey. In these latter states, the foreign born are proving to be more valuable than ever.

Highlights from the report:

  • There are states with large numbers of immigrants (California, New York, Texas, Florida, Illinois, and New Jersey), and a somewhat different set of states where immigration is a major factor in population growth (Nebraska, Kansas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania).
  • The demographic impact of high or low or even negative population growth among the native born, and the effect of high or low immigration, often is felt more acutely at the local level. For a county government as opposed to a state government, loss of native population in some local municipalities is less likely to be balanced out by gain in others.
  • Many counties that are losing native population, like Los Angeles County, Cook County in Illinois, and Queens County in New York, are parts of urban areas that are experiencing widespread departures of natives.
  • A loss of native population without replacement by immigrants could put county governments in dire straits. Many governmental costs are relatively fixed and could take years to reduce in light of declining population.

Read the entire report at:

Copyright: The material above was originally produced by the Immigration Policy Center of the American Immigration Law Foundation. Reproduced with Permission.

About The Author

Rob Paral is a Research Fellow with the Immigration Policy Center and is also affiliated with the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law in Chicago. Data processing for this report was conducted by Michael Norkewicz.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.