New York City’s immigrant population has reached a new peak, with the percentage of foreign-born residents being the highest it has been in more than a century, according to a new report issued by the city.
More than 3 million immigrants — 37.2 percent of our population — were living in the city in 2011. This is the highest percentage the city has seen since 1910, when 40.8 percent of New Yorkers were foreign-born.
According to the Department of City Planning report, entitled “The Newest New Yorkers,” the city’s immigrant population hit a low in 1970 when only 18 percent of residents had come from another country. It has grown since then, stabilizing and growing the city’s overall population.
“[Immigrants] were crucial in pushing New York’s growth over the 8 million mark in 2000, and have now propelled the city to its new population peak of 8.34 million in 2012,” a press release stated.
The largest percentage of immigrants have settled in Queens and Brooklyn, where two-thirds of the city’s immigrant population lives.
The Bronx and Staten Island both saw a jump in foreign-born residents between 2000 and 2011. The Bronx’s immigrant population grew by about 85,300, while Staten Island’s immigrant population increased by 36 percent, the largest percentage increase of the five boroughs.
According to the report, the largest immigrant group hails from the Dominican Republic, with 380,200 residents living in the five boroughs. The second leading group was China with 350,200 residents.
The Chinese population, however, has grown at a much faster rate between 2000 and 2011, the report found. If these growth rates continue, they are expected to become the city’s largest immigrant group in the next few years.
Other countries represented by the city’s foreign-born population are Mexico, Jamaica, Guyana, Ecuador, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, India and Russia.
The report also looked at the role immigrants play in the city’s economy. They comprise 47 percent of all employed residents in all major industries, and they also disproportionately represent those who start new businesses.
“As the city stays economically attractive, it will continue to sustain immigrant flow, which in turn acts to sustain its economy,” the report stated.