Blue States See Dip in Immigrants

By: - September 27, 2019 12:00 am

Diners enjoy lunch in a Chinese restaurant in Flushing Chinatown in the borough of Queens, in New York. Also known as Mandarin Town, this is the second largest Chinatown outside Asia. The number of Chinese immigrants in New York state decreased by almost 40,000 last year. Melanie Stetson Freeman / The Christian Science Monitor via AP

Despite having more welcoming policies for immigrants, blue states that once led immigration growth saw some of the steepest decreases in immigrant population last year. The red states of Florida and Texas had the biggest increases, along with Washington state.

New York, Illinois and California had the biggest drops in immigrant population, along with New Jersey, Maryland and Connecticut — losing a combined 206,000 immigrants as Florida and Texas together gained about 170,000. The numbers were released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

It has been a gradual shift from earlier years, when in 2010 California and New York had some of the largest increases in immigration and the biggest drops were in more conservative states such as Arizona and Idaho.  

Trade turmoil and spiraling home prices in blue states play a role. The shifts in immigrant population will have an impact on the 1 in 5 U.S. counties where immigration has softened population loss, those with agriculture or meatpacking industries that rely on immigrant labor, and states such as Texas and California where small population changes might cause shifts in political power after the 2020 census.

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Tim Henderson
Tim Henderson

Tim Henderson covers demographics for Stateline. He has been a reporter at the Miami Herald, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Journal News.