Cultures & immigration beat: New website sharpens focus on migration

  • Article by: ALLIE SHAH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 8, 2012 - 6:00 PM

A new online database from the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs offers some revealing information about immigrant and refugee populations in Minnesota and across the Midwest.

The interactive site (immigrationtaskforce.hhh.umn.edu), will be unveiled Wednesday before the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

It pulls together data from the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Office of Refugee Resettlement and from published reports from research organizations such as the Pew Center and the Brookings Institution.

The information was compiled this semester by University of Minnesota Professor Kathy Fennelly and graduate students from her Immigration and Public Policy class.

Their report highlights immigration trends across 12 states: Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

"There's a lot of interest in having current data," Fennelly said. "Sometimes we have all sorts of opinions about immigration that aren't based on data. There are groups that are hungry for data. We have created this website for exactly that purpose."

Among the report's highlights:

• The immigrant workforce in the Midwest grew 11 times faster than the native-born labor force in the past decade.

• Minnesota remains the region's main gateway for refugees, accepting 35,410 refugees from 43 countries from 2000 to 2010. That's more than the other 11 states in the Midwest.

• The percentage of Minnesota's foreign-born population who are refugees (8.9 percent) is much higher than the nation's as a whole. The percentage of the U.S. total foreign-born population who are refugees is 1.7 percent.

• Scott County ranked among the top 10 counties nationwide with the largest growth (269 percent) in immigrants between 2000 and 2010.

Allie Shah • 612-673-4488

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