Influx of Immigrants Transforming New York City

Thursday, 19 Dec 2013 08:36 AM

By Elliot Jager

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New York City's population is more "kaleidoscopic" than ever before, as portrayed by a new report issued by the City Planning Department, according to the The New York Times.

Always a city of immigrants, today's New York has one of the most diverse populations of any major metropolis in the world, partly as a result of an influx of Chinese and Mexican immigrants.

Of the city's 8.2 million population, some 3.1 million— or 37 percent— are foreign born, setting a new record, the Times reported Wednesday.

The city's immigrant population includes about 380,000 Dominicans, 350,000 Chinese, and 186,000 Mexicans. In addition to those who arrived illegally, China is the chief source of legal immigration to New York.

In 1970, there were roughly 51,00 immigrants from the Dominican Republic, 37,000 from China, and 3,700 from Mexico. The increases are partly the result of a law passed in 1965 that changed immigration criteria, opening America's doors to more people from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

Whites became a minority in the city in 2011, according to the Times.

Among the bigger immigrant groups, the Chinese are notable for their traditional family structures, low school drop-out rates, and comparatively high median incomes, according to a City Planning Report on new immigrants.

Besides China, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic, new immigrants are arriving mostly from Guyana, Jamaica, Ecuador, Haiti, India, Russia, Tobago, and Trinidad.

Most are moving to two of the city's five boroughs: Queens, where nearly half the residents are immigrants, and Brooklyn, where immigrants comprise 37 percent of the population.

Many of the newcomers open businesses, "providing a continuous injection of economic vitality," according to the City Planning Department report. Most find work in restaurants, private households, and hotels, with others employed in retail trade such as dry cleaning, and grocery and department stores.

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