(October 2000) Since 1990, the number of new immigrants arriving in the United States has approached 1 million per year, but these new residents do not settle evenly across the country. During the 1990s, over 65 percent of all immigrants settled in just 10 of the nation’s metropolitan areas. Established immigrant networks in these “magnet” cities offer social and economic support to the newly arrived residents, and U.S. immigration law is strongly oriented toward family reunification. Family reunification policies link family members and friends to common destinations.

But how long will it take newer immigrant groups, primarily from Latin America and Asia, to disperse to other parts of the country? In the Mountain West, the rate of immigrant arrivals has increased slightly, but is still dwarfed by the numbers arriving on the Pacific Coast. At the same time, there are signs that diffusion is already occurring in areas where the native-born labor supply does not meet the needs of the market, both for low-skilled labor and for workers with technical skills.


U.S. Census Bureau, “State Population Estimates and Demographic Components of Population Change: Annual Time-Series, April 1, 1990 to July 1, 1999,” accessed online at http://www.census.gov/popest/archives/1990s/ST-99-07.txt on June 22, 2000.