Without influxes of Hispanics and Asians, some U.S. cities would be smaller
By Carol Morello and Dan Keating
More than half of the United States’ 100 largest cities relied on Hispanics and Asians to grow and would have seen their populations decline without them over the past decade, a Washington Post analysis shows.
According to recent census data, Hispanics accounted for the population growth of Philadelphia, Phoenix, Indianapolis, Omaha and Atlanta. Asians boosted the count in Anaheim, Calif.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Baton Rouge; and Jersey City. Without influx from the two groups, all of those cities would have shrunk. ....
Much of the growth can be attributed to recent immigrants, part of a pattern that has determined city size throughout much of American history. Many came in search of job opportunities, making population growth a marker of a city’s economy and vitality. ...
In many cases, what determined whether a city grew or contracted was the number of Hispanics and, to a lesser degree, Asians it attracted. Among the 100 biggest cities, 26 would have had population losses without an influx of Hispanics, and 11 would have shrunk without Asians.
Cities that do not attract more new immigrant communities over the next decade will hemorrhage population, demographers predicted.
“The real energy in cities is going to be from Hispanics coming in,” said William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution. “Cities in the industrial Midwest could use an infusion of new immigrant minorities coming in. Cleveland and Detroit haven’t done well; they’re not attracting enough Hispanics. Clearly, Hispanics were the magic bullet for a lot of cities.”