More than 1 in 5 people residing in the United States have come from abroad to find opportunities in every corner of the country, but 10 cities stand out as the best places for newcomers to thrive.
The George W. Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative in Dallas ranked every city across America in terms of the well-being of immigrants who lived there, according to a report published Thursday. The term “immigrant” was defined as a foreign-born person, regardless of legal status, and they comprise 23% of the U.S. population.
The 10 places where immigrants are thriving are split across the north and south, leaving no one part of the country overwhelmingly more or less favorable than another.
Positive factors that determined a city’s well-being for immigrant populations included major technology hubs, college towns, and mid-Atlantic and Midwestern metropolitan regions that have “been intentional in welcoming immigrants and helping them thrive,” the report read.
California, a sanctuary state that does not allow local or state law enforcement to work with federal immigration police to arrest illegal immigrants, had two cities on the list, including the top-ranked San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metropolitan region.
The Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Maryland, region followed in second place, and the San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley region in California was in third place.
Two other metropolitan areas (Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington, and Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Maryland-Virginia) rounded out the top five.
Smaller cities from the Southeast, Midwest, and mid-Atlantic regions filled the bottom half of the top 10.
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Maryland San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, California Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C./Maryland/Virginia St. Louis, Missouri/Illinois Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina Jackson, Mississippi Cincinnati, Ohio/Kentucky/Indiana
The report explained that it was by no coincidence that smaller cities were moving up as top spots for immigrants and that it was largely due to immigrants already living in the U.S. choosing to relocate from larger cities.
“Newly arriving immigrants tend to choose metros mostly on the East and West coasts and urban enclaves with large concentrations of people from the same origin country — consistent with more than a century of history,” the report read. “But immigrants making secondary moves within the United States are disproportionately moving away from traditional gateways into metros in the Sun Belt, Great Plains, and Mountain States — and to suburban counties.”