By: Janet Harrah
This month’s post examines the changing demographics of the region’s foreign-born population. A recent Census Bureau blog post noted that in recent years, China has replaced Mexico as the top sending country for immigrants to the United States. The data show the top sending region for immigrants residing in the Cincinnati MSA is Asia as well.
In 2013, the Cincinnati MSA had a foreign-born population of approximately 93,700. Of those, 42 percent arrived from Asia, followed by Latin America (24 percent), and Europe (17 percent).
Let's take a look at Cincinnati's foreign-born population broken down by their region of origin:
Europe: In 2013, there were approximately 15,700 foreign-born residents from Europe living in the Cincinnati metro. Forty-two percent entered the United States prior to 1990. Just 9 percent entered the U.S. in 2010 or later.
Asia: In 2013, there were approximately 39,200 foreign-born residents from Asia living in the Cincinnati metro. One in three Asian foreign-born residents entered the United States between 2000 and 2009
Latin America: In 2013, there were 22,500 foreign-born residents from Latin America living in the Cincinnati metro. The largest number arrived between 2000 and 2009 (nearly 12,000 or 53 percent).
Other Areas: There are approximately 16,400 foreign-born Cincinnati residents from other regions. More than half these residents entered the United States between 2000 and 2009.
How does Cincinnati’s foreign-born population differ from its native-born population?
- The native Cincinnati population is comprised largely of non-Hispanic whites (83 percent) compared to the foreign-born which is largely comprised of persons of color (nearly 75 percent).
- The foreign-born are much more likely to be married. Less than half of the native population is married compared to more than 60 percent of the foreign-born population.
- The foreign-born population is less likely to have finished high school, but is also more likely to have a college degree.
- Median earnings for full-time, year-round workers are higher for the foreign-born males versus native-born males ($56,869 versus $50,890 respectively) but are less for foreign-born females compared to native-born females ($35,770 versus $39,154 respectively).
- The poverty rate for the foreign-born population is higher (15.7 percent compared to 14.4 percent for the native-born).
- Average household size is larger for both owner- and renter-occupied housing units of the foreign-born. The average owner-occupied housing unit has 3.18 persons among foreign-born households compared to 2.64 for native-born households.
- Among the native-born population in Cincinnati, nearly 98 percent speak only English at home. Among the foreign-born population, 77 percent speak a language other than English at home. In 29 percent of foreign-born households there is no one age 14 and older who speaks English “very well”.
Why is the foreign-born population important? As the country becomes more racially diverse, the future of metropolitan areas will be contingent on how attractive they are to groups other than non-Hispanic whites and African Americans. As the African American population migrated to the suburbs in many regions, numerous large American cities, Cincinnati among them, lost population between 2000 and 2010. As noted by many demographers following the release of the 2010 Census results, cities that do not attract more new immigrant communities over the next decade will continue to lose population. Between 2000 and 2010, the population in the city of Cincinnati declined by 10.4 percent, a decline of more than 34,300 residents.
The impacts of population loss include employers leaving the city to find employees, declines in retail and hospitality spending, and a lower tax base resulting in more difficulty providing public services.