Who are we in the U.S., really?
May 16, 2012 11:22 AM   Subscribe

Besides Central Americans, what are other countries that have major first-generation diaspora communities in the United States? India? Armenia? Cambodia? Other Asian countries? Just wild guesses here.

I live in an area where there are many communities of people from other countries. Nationwide, I'm wondering what other countries are supplying our diaspora communities.

I'm not interested in Central Americans although I would like to know if there's a table buried in Wikipedia or US Census data that compares these populations.
posted by metajc to Society & Culture (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Here in the Twin Cities we have vast populations of Somalis, just off the proverbial boat. Also, somewhat more established, Laotian and Vietnamese Hmong, Karens, and other ethnicities from that region.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 11:27 AM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


The US Census has a website on Foreign-Born Americans (which could be a useful search term for you), with a report based on the 2010 American Community Survey reports. Unfortunately the reports don't appear to break down national origin, but they do break it down by continent, so this could be a good jumping-off point for more research.
posted by andrewesque at 11:38 AM on May 16, 2012


what are other countries that have major first-generation diaspora communities in the United States?

This all depends on what your definition of "major" is. We have 300 million people in the USA. We have immigrant communities that are larger than entire ethnic/linguistic groups in some countries. I can name half a dozen distinctive and major immigrant communities in Queens, NYC alone.

Keep in mind that "first generation" still refers to people born abroad but may have come here many years ago.

This list of number of immigrants to the US by country of origin should give you an idea.
posted by deanc at 11:46 AM on May 16, 2012


South Florida has Cubans and Haitians in huge numbers.

I took a course in Ethnic Neighborhoods in college (I can't believe I found a way to reference that twice in the past 24 hours here) and it was facinating.

The US Census will have a ton of info on this!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:49 AM on May 16, 2012


In the North-East Cities, you can find big populations of Russians, Poles, Ukrainians - East Europeans in general. Brighton Beach, Brooklyn is all Russian.
posted by Flood at 12:26 PM on May 16, 2012


Are you looking for the kind of "there are more X people in {US city} than in {major city in X country}" kind of thing?

Here in the Boston area, there is a big Armenian community in Watertown, a large Haitian community in Cambridge and Arlington, big Brazilian communities in Cambridge, Framingham, and Hudson, significant Cambodian communities in Lowell and on the North Shore (Revere, Lynn, etc.), a large Vietnamese community in Dorchester and smaller (but sizable) communities in Worcester and the greater Springfield area, etc., etc. And of course a big Irish new-emigre community, centered around South Boston but not limited to South Boston.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:34 PM on May 16, 2012


Yeah, this depends on your definition of major. Just off personal experience, there are Iranian and Afghan diaspora communities in California: a lot of Iranians in Los Angeles (some Iranians jokingly refer to LA as Tehrangeles), and a good-sized community of Afghans in northern California in Fremont.
posted by yasaman at 12:36 PM on May 16, 2012


Mexico is not Central America, Cuba, Puerto Rico.
posted by Che boludo! at 12:43 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm looking for a table that ranks diaspora communities in order of population.

I'm trying to find a table like this one, I guess, but it would include immigrants and their children (no grandchildren) who are US-born.

I'm trying to figure out "In the US, countries X, Y, Z (and maybe 25 more) are represented in this table by numbers of living immigrants and their children, in order of national population."

After I know that, I could pick the biggest populations and figure out in which cities Armenians or Indians or Somalians live, whatever those countries may be ... but my first question is "Who is here?"
posted by metajc at 12:49 PM on May 16, 2012


First generation are people who can be 1 yrs old (only recent immigrants) or 80 yrs old (never naturalized immigrants). Children of immigrants who were born in the USA are not immigrants, the US follows ius soli.
So you are looking for the stock of foreign-born population by country of birth (XLS) from the Migration Policy Institute (select United States). Here you have maps of largest and fastest growing immigrant populations.
Also info on foreign population in the Census.
Wikipedia has some info in the immigration article too.
This is a well studied area, you just need to be precise.
posted by travelwithcats at 12:58 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is a well studied area, you just need to be precise.

You beat me to it with migrationinformation.org.

The answer is, pretty much, "everyone." Less glibly, those who live in countries where a large number of people have enough money to leave but not so much that they would have little benefit from coming to the US. The US is large enough with enough immigrants that we don't just have diaspora communities. We have distinct communities within diaspora communities. I can point out where there are communities of specific sub-groups within a larger diaspora in the USA, possibly subgroups that you didn't even know existed (because they all "look the same" to outsiders).
posted by deanc at 1:04 PM on May 16, 2012


I can point out where there are communities of specific sub-groups within a larger diaspora in the USA, possibly subgroups that you didn't even know existed (because they all "look the same" to outsiders).

Or because the US no longer recognizes their country or categorizes them separately, e.g. the Tibetan community in New York, which is the largest in the West.
posted by The Bellman at 1:27 PM on May 16, 2012


I can tell you that while trying to go through the green card process for employees that we were told people from India & China were going to wait the longest because those two countries have the longest waiting lists.
posted by magnetsphere at 2:07 PM on May 16, 2012


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