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Immigrants Filling the Gap in Large Metropolitan Areas

By Timmy Watson in News on Apr 7, 2007 7:51PM

As we mentioned in Extra, Extra yesterday, the Chicagoland area increased its population by approximately 400,000 in the past 6 years, a 4.5 percent increase. This increase is the 10th largest in the nation and puts the census area population at 9.5 million.

At first glance the growth may seem easily justifiable, Chicago has increased its tourism in recent years and has done more and more to become a global city. 07_04_07_chicago.jpgThe city had 33.04 million domestic and international visitors in 2005. As tourism thrives, so goes job growth and sex appeal. A deeper look at the numbers, however, tell a different story.

Across the country, much of the population growth is attributed to immigration. Without both legal and illegal immigrants, most of these cities would have seen a decline. For example, New York City added about 1 million people in the same six year period. Without the influx of the immigrant population, New York City would have lost about 600,000 people. Los Angeles would have lost about 200,000. Chicago would have still showed a gain, but only by about 70,000. Most of which, according to some of our readers, are writing for Chicagoist. While we would like to attribute it to ourselves, the census data shows that the number of births were significantly higher than the number of deaths.

For the most part, the country has a negative few of the increase in the immigrant population. But, as the Christian Science Monitor points out, "While 23 percent of the nation's cooks and 20 percent of its janitors were immigrants in 2000, 27 percent of new computer-software engineers were also immigrants, according to a recent Migration Policy Institute study." In addition to the benefits of having highly skilled workers come to the country, the fact that the immigrant population is keeping urban areas from losing residents is evidence of their necessity.