Immigration to the D.C. Area
By Esther, Adam, Lucía, and
Immigrants to Washington D.C.
• Since the 2000 Census, D.C has increased it’s percentages of Caucasians,
Asians, and Hispanics while the African American population has
decreased. This is due to many African Americans moving to the suburbs
and more Caucasians moving to the city due to much gentrification of
traditionally African American neighborhoods. This is evident in a 7.3%
decrease in the African-American population, and a 17.8% increase in the
Caucasian population since 2000 .
• Although the Caucasian population is increasing, in the past 20 years, D.C
has become a major destination for immigrants , adding 575,000 residents
who were born outside the United States.
• Although there has been a great increase in immigrants to D.C, the majority
of them settle in the suburbs around Washington (Montgomery, Fairfax,
and Prince George's County).
• In 2010 the population distribution was 50.7% African American,
38.5% Caucasian, 9.1% Hispanic (of any race), 4.4% other (including Native
Americans, Alaskans, Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders), 3.5% Asian, and
• Out of all of the post-World War II immigration gateways, the D.C.-area is
the only one with a high immigrant skills ratio.( there are189 high-skilled
immigrants for every 100 low-skilled immigrants
• 46% of D.C. residents 25 and older have at least a four-year college degree,
and 25% have a graduate or professional degree. This may be due to the
recent immigrants to Washington tending to be good English speakers, with
62% saying they speak English well or very well.
• However, having more skills doesn’t always translate into higher wages.
Many of these high-skilled immigrant workers are overqualified for the jobs
• Although many are overqualified, only around 10% of immigrant
households live in poverty, compared to 6.8% for the D.C region as a whole.
This is a much lower percentage in poverty than other major metropolitan
areas’, where around double the number of immigrants are found to be
living in poverty.
Who Are the Immigrants? Why Did They Come?
• The largest immigrant population is from El Salvador, a small Central
American country that went through a harsh civil war.
• Mexico, Peru, Guatemala and Bolivia are among the top 10 places of origin
for immigrants while the top Asian countries include Korea, China, India,
The Philippines and Vietnam. The next largest group comes from the UK,
the largest group from Europe.
• Washington's immigrant community first began to grow in the l970s with
the increasing numbers immigrants who worked for international
organizations or came as students and decided to stay. Also, its recent
expansion of high-tech and bio-tech firms has been a major factor in
attracting immigrants. (This is also portrayed in our school survey where
many people moved here in their college years and stayed. Also the survey
also shows how many people moved to the D.C area because of jobs, many
of them being international organizations and highly-skilled jobs.)
Highest Level of Education of
Immigrants to the DC are
Number of People
job schools family other
Reasons for migration to DC
number of people
Population Of Foreigners in Maryland.
Total Population in DC
Population, 2012 estimate:
American Indian and Alaska Native:
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific
Persons of Hispanic or Latino Origin:
Total Population in Montgomery
Where do the immigrants live?
• Some immigrants have
blended in with existing
• Many (Asian, Hispanic, and
African) live in clustered areas
• Example: Wheaton
▫ 51.4% Hispanic
▫ Hispanic population has
increased by 61% in the last
Cultural Elements of Immigrants
• Latino Immigrants
▫ Latino markets
▫ Peruvian restaurants
• Asian Immigrants:
▫ Large vegetable super
Immigration Reform in Congress
▫ For a path to citizenship
▫ Looser immigration laws
▫ Against a path to
▫ Stricter immigration laws
Status of Immigration
• Bill passed in the Senate
Judiciary Committee (now
on the Senate floor)
• Likely die in the House of
Components of the
Immigration Reform Bill
• Tightening of border
• Adjustment of status of
• Improvement of temporary
worker application programs
Accommodation of the Foreign-Born
• Many directions, signs, and
other materials are found in
• Public schools offer aid to new
immigrant students to help
learn the language and adjust
Groups for Immigration
• Heritage groups
(Chinese, Pilipino, and
Vietnamese, etc..) often meet
weekly and host large cultural
• Maryland Immigration Rights
Coalition- Provide low-cost
and pro bono legal
representation to low-income
Groups Against Immigration
• Anti-immigrant group FAIR (Federation of
American Immigration Reform) have launched
multiple smear campaigns against local
immigrant rights groups
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