This analysis finds that the economic opportunities drawing many immigrants to the United States haven't changed, but the locations where those opportunities are found has shifted over time.
Brookings Institute and Metropolitan Policy Program fellow Audrey Singer looks at how and where the more than 42 million foreign-born U.S. residents comprise 13% of the population, these shares differ widely across metropolitan areas. Singer looks at "gateway types," ranging from established (earliest portals), to post-World War II, to emerging, re-emerging, major emerging, and minor-emerging gateways in a fascinating breakdown of the 57 U.S. immigrant gateways. Singer writes:
The re-emerging gateways, metro areas including Baltimore and Philadelphia in the East, and Seattle and Denver in the West, had significant immigrant populations in the early 20th century and declines at mid-century, trends akin to the former gateways. By the end of the 20th century and into the beginning of the 21st, the re-emerging gateways had a solid uptick in immigrants, inching up to 12 percent in 2014, but not yet reaching the level of 14 percent seen in 1900.The fastest contemporary growth rates belong to the major-emerging gateways (Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Phoenix); together they comprise 8 percent of the total foreign-born population in 2014.