News and views from the award-winning author of the novels The Skinny Years, America Libre, House Divided and Pancho Land

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The U.S. city with the most immigrants is also the most prosperous

Here’s some news that will stick in the craw of the anti-immigration crowd: The U.S. city with the largest percentage of immigrants is also the most prosperous. That’s right. San Jose, California, now being called the innovation capital of the United States, is a city where only 39% of the residents are native born. The city also leads the nation in highest weekly wages and has added tens of thousands of jobs in the last year. This thriving vitality is in direct contrast to the howls of the nativist fringe who claim immigration depresses wages.

The correlation between diversity and prosperity in San Jose is no fluke, either. After San Jose, the next U.S. city with the highest concentration of immigrants is New York City. Not surprisingly, the Big Apple is ranked number two in per capita income.

A progressive, pro-active government has also helped fuel San Jose’s growth. Over 9 million square feet of commercial space for nearly 15,000 jobs has been approved by a city government team that travels to businesses to approve permits. Critics of government involvement in the economy please take note.

So the next time you hear someone spouting off about immigrants driving down wages, remind them that in America’s most prosperous cities the energy, skills and innovation of immigrants are creating the nation’s highest wages.

Raul Ramos y Sanchez

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