The Foreign-Born Population in Upstate New York

For immigrants coming to New York State, NYC has traditionally been the gateway, the area where many first arrive and settle. Since the large number of foreign-born city residents has contributed significantly to population growth in the area, it is not surprising that downstate immigration trends have been well documented. Less often recognized, however, is the fact that a substantial number of immigrants — more than 200,000 — make their home in major upstate metropolitan areas. This influx of immigrants upstate has gone relatively unnoticed—masked, no doubt, by the negligible growth in the region’s overall population.

This paper relies on 2000 Census data to create a profile of the upstate immigrants and to shed light on the role they play in the region’s population growth and economy. It compares the demographic characteristics of this group with those of the foreign-born in New York City. It also investigates the extent to which the immigrants’ education and occupational skills put them in competition for jobs with U.S.-born residents or enable them to fill jobs that complement those held by the native-born.

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(From Current Issues in Economics and Finance: Second District Highlights, Volume 13, Number 9, October 2007)