Thursday, March 07, 2013

Foreign-born population increasing in rural areas

More foreign-born people are moving to rural America, reports the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Nine states (Alaska, Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, Idaho, Kansas, Georgia and Washington) have counties where more than 25 percent of the population is foreign-born, and in some cases more than 50 percent are foreign-born. (Click on images for larger versions)
From 1970 to 2011, an estimated 40 million foreign-born persons lived in the United States, with 2.1 million, or 4.1 percent, settling in rural areas. That boosted many of those areas' low or even negative population growth rate.

More than half of the foreign-born people are from Mexico. Between 1980 and 2010, the Hispanic population in the U.S. (including both foreign- and U.S.-born) increased from 14.6 million to 50.5 million, an increase of 246 percent, compared to 22 percent for the non-Hispanic population.

Since 1990 the growth in the Hispanic population has been especially rapid in non-metro communities, particularly in the Southeast and Midwest, many of which had not previously had large numbers of Spanish-speaking residents. Hispanics accounted for over 25 percent of non-metro population growth during the 1990s.

ERS estimates that well over half of hired crop workers in the U.S. are foreign-born. This graphic from the agency shows states with more than 2,000 certified H-2A visa positions for temporary, immigrant farm workers in fiscal 2011 and the primary crop associated with the positions.

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