Nativity and ancestry: Immigrant inclusion is integral to cultural and economic vitality.

Insights & Analyses

  • The share of White, US born people in the country has decreased since 1990. This demographic shift has been most dramatic in states like California and Texas, which both shifted from majority White, US-born to majority immigrant and US-born people of color since 1990.
  • While many coastal states like California, Florida, and New York have had large increases in their immigrant populations since 1990, populations in states in the interior west like Idaho and Wyoming remain majority White and US-born.
  • The majority of the Asian or Pacific Islanders population are immigrants while the majority of the Latinx population is US-born.

Drivers of Inequity

While the United States is often described as a nation of immigrants, attitudes toward immigrants have fluctuated over time and have consistently favored White and European-born migrants. During the first half of the 20th century, the United States relied on a national-origins system that favored Northwestern Europeans and barred Asians through explicitly racist policies. In 1965, Congress enacted policy changes meant to unite immigrant families and attract skilled labor, leading to more immigration from Asia and Latin America. These later demographic patterns remain true today. Under President Trump, however, several policy changes including increased militarization of the border and the "travel ban" against seven Muslim-majority countries have contributed to decreased immigration rates since 2008.


Grow an equitable economy: Policies to leverage diversity as an asset

Strategy in Action

Tulsa is implementing a welcoming and inclusion strategy for its growing immigrant population. In 2016, the City of Tulsa was chosen to be a part of the Gateways for Growth Challenge to develop a plan for welcoming and integrating immigrants. New American Economy and the city published a research report highlighting how immigrants contributed $3.8 million to the region's economic output in 2015 and play an outsize role in Tulsa's key industries, such as construction, tourism, and hospitality. The study informed the New Tulsans Initiative Welcoming Plan, which includes policy goals to improve the lives of immigrants, such as increased civic engagement and access to education and health care. The plan also includes a program to increase naturalization of the estimated 10,000 immigrants in Tulsa who qualify for citizenship by assisting with application costs and providing training for the citizenship test. The plan began implementation in 2019 and will be completed by the end of 2020. Read more.

Photo: Nitish Meena on Unsplash

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