If you’re an immigrant living in the state of Florida, you probably already know how large and diverse the community is here—in fact, you may have met one or several families with similar origins and backstories to yours. But Florida isn’t the only state with a large immigrant population. In today’s blog, we will take a look at the five American states with the largest immigrant populations, as well as the groups that are best represented in these states.
With more than a quarter of its population born somewhere other than the US, California boasts the highest percentage of immigrants in the US according to the 2012 census—and, in many ways, it is clear to see why. In addition to is sheer size and proximity to Mexico, another factor—California’s positive, immigrant-friendly environment—plays a big role. Immigrants in California can make use of in-state tuition prices and state-funded children’s healthcare, among other benefits, even while they’re not yet legal citizens. California also recently rid the state’s labor code of the word “alien” when referring to illegal immigrants, showing a level of support for immigrants that not all states offer.
From its very beginning, New York has been a thriving spot for immigrants coming into the US for a better life. Early immigrants gathered together to maintain their culture in the US, forming neighborhoods like Chinatown and Little Italy that we are familiar with today. These establishments have long made New York a pivotal part of US immigration.
New York City itself is also highly regarded when it comes to immigration. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg called New York “the most immigrant-friendly city in the world,” and worked to enact local laws that would lighten the force of disciplinary programs aimed at illegal immigrants. Its diverse, cosmopolitan nature makes the city (and the state of New York as a whole) a key spot for immigrants entering the country or looking to make a home for themselves.
New Jersey doesn’t have just have a high amount of immigrants living within its border—it is a state that prides itself in the education and career talents of its foreign born residents. More than 27 percent of New Jersey workers are foreign born, and these people contribute greatly to the fiscal livelihood of the state as a whole.
As you probably guessed, Florida is of course one of the top five US states when it comes to immigrants. Most of these immigrants, just over 75 percent, hail from Latin America, so the community here is well-developed with citizens from just about every Latin American country calling Florida “home.” The predominance of Latin American peoples makes it an ideal spot for those looking to move to the US while still retaining elements (such as language) of their home culture.
At 19 percent, Nevada is home to the fifth highest amount of immigrants (by percentage) in the US. Almost half of Nevada’s immigrant population is naturalized citizens, and its foreign born residents do their part by voting and paying taxes—both arenas in which they play a large part.