Thursday, April 09, 2015

and again Pittsburgh immigration

Now well over a decade ago Pittsburgh made the front page of the New York Times for the unique and focused efforts here to attract immigrants to the city and region.  See: NYT (2001): To Fill Gaps, Cities Seek Wave of Immigrants. A couple years later the WSJ would run this type of story in 2003: Pittsbrugh Trying To Lure Latinos.Might be a good time to look back to see what has changed over the subsequent decade.

Lots of factors impact the flow of immigrants into a region. Lots of itinerant populations are here due to things like students on temporary visas (who for the most part can't stay) and professional workers who are also here only temporarily, such as those with H1B visas.  Many eventually convert to a more permanent visa status, but in the long run the question is who comes here to stay.  Thus a measure of whether immigrants are choosing to come to Pittsburgh and stay is arguably the number of permanent naturalizations that happen in Western Pennsylvania.

2001-2003 was bad timing for immigration-focused efforts anywhere as post-9/11 changes slowed dramatically the flow of new immigrants into the country for a time.  But that flow returned over the decade, as it did in Pittsburgh.  Still, the latest numbers recently out for 2013 show the current level of naturalizations in Pittsburgh just about where they were in 2003.  Seems to be a plateau between 1,300 and 1,500 a year here.  This low level is a Pittsburgh thing, and just for comparison Cleveland recorded 3,076 naturalizations in 2013. Even Cincinnati comes in around twice Pittsburgh's number with over 2,700. Proportional to the region's population the numbers don't get much lower.

Correction: Table below shows data for annual naturalizations in Pittsburgh, not as labeled incorrectly the number obtaining lawful permanent resident status.  




While the overall number of naturalizations is much the same as a decade prior, the actual characteristics of new residents here appears to be changing. You can breakdown the chart above into place of birth of those being naturalized.  For Pittsburgh the number of naturalizations generated from folks born in Mexico and South America is pretty stable, but remarkably now below the number of naturalizations of folks born in Africa, which quadrupled in Pittsburgh from 2003 to 2013.  Nationally that ratio is about half has many from Africa as from Mexico and South America. This may relate to a Pew note out this week on how a rising share of the Black U.S. population is foreign born.

Sorry the 2nd chart starts in 2003.  Hard to get the comparable data for 2002, but will gladly update if anyone has it?

Still the focus here a decade ago as much geared toward attracting Hispanic immigrants.It looks to me that the increasing trends have been mostly in immigrants from Asia, which includes the subcontinent, but the smaller but increasing trends from Africa and elsewhere in North America. I may need to look into if/how much of the surge in Asian-born naturalizations here comes from the surge of Bhutanese into the greater Cleveburgh region.



9 Comments:

Anonymous DBR96A said...

I'll wager that Hispanic naturalization accounts for at least the entire difference in naturalizations between Pittsburgh and Cleveland/Cincinnati. At this point, I say the Hispanic ship has sailed and Pittsburgh missed the boat. Just focus on the Asian immigrants instead, especially considering Pittsburgh's Asian population surpassed Cleveland's at the metropolitan level between 2000 and 2010, and grew at a faster rate than Cincinnati's as well.

Something else to consider is that Allegheny County is basically an island unto itself within its own metropolitan area, and it more than likely accounts for over 90% of all the naturalizations in the metropolitan area. It's a shame that the outlying counties have pretty much nothing to offer the metropolitan area at large other than washing out the interesting demographic changes occurring in Allegheny County, and being a "refuge" for the kind of people who'd elect somebody like Daryl Metcalfe to the State Legislature.

Thursday, April 09, 2015 4:23:00 PM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

I agree with the prior poster--net Hispanic immigration to the U.S. has crashed, and without a significant immigrant population base here to begin with, competing for a significantly larger share of a much shrunken pie is very unlikely.

However, I am a bit disappointed with those non-Hispanic, mostly Asian, numbers. I had hoped for the overall growing trend to continue with growth in those other categories, and it seems to have flatlined instead. However, the whole region went through an economic slowdown circa 2013, so maybe (like the general labor markets and other related indicators) the 2014 numbers will eventually return to growth.

I also wonder a bit about lag effects. Could the Great Recession, say, cause a decrease in future LPRs, say through the temporary visa channels? I think it would be interesting to see how national numbers for LPRs looked over the same time period, to see if there were any apparent lag effects.

Friday, April 10, 2015 10:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we talk about the US steel industry going through a crash similar to the 1990s?

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