We recently posted a map of the most popular destination cities for immigrants in America.
Unsurprisingly, the top twenty cities for net immigration had a pretty big overlap with the twenty largest cities in the U.S. — it is not too crazy that a huge number of immigrants move to New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston, given that those cities already have a huge number of people.
To get a better feel for cities where there might be a disproportionate number of immigrants, relative to size, we made the following map, based on the Census’ recently released population change estimates, of net international migrants between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013, adjusted for the original July 1, 2012 population:
This shows something of a different picture. The biggest cities are underrepresented here, and there are a number of interesting patterns in the smaller towns that show up on this map.
Here are the twenty cities with the most net immigrants, per 10,000 people in the 2012 baseline:
These cities appear to fall into a couple groups. To look more closely at this, here’s a map with just the top twenty cities:
Three of the cities, in red, are located near military bases. It’s not totally clear what effect this might have on international migration, but it is something these cities have in common.
Five of the cities, in light blue, are large cities that also appear on the top twenty cities with the most total net international migration. Even adjusting for population, these are popular destinations for immigrants.
Trenton and Bridgeport, in dark blue, are both in the Greater New York combined metropolitan area, and so their location may be a factor in their high levels of international migration.
Six cities, in green, are home to large research universities, and may be attracting a disproportionate number of international students and faculty.
The rest of the cities, in yellow, do not fall into these other groups. Dumas, TX is a small agricultural town with a large Hispanic population, so it may be attracting migrant workers. Honolulu’s unique location halfway between North America and Asia makes it a natural location for high immigration.
Of course, these categories are rough and approximate. It is also possible, especially for the smaller cities with nearby military bases and the cities outside the four main categories, that there are just some local idiosyncrasies that lead to high levels of net international migration.
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