2nd Quarter 2011

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% of Population That Has Immigrated since 1995: Top Tennessee Counties

Bedford
5.56%
Davidson
5.23%
Hamblen
5.02%
Warren 3.31%
Crockett 3.13%
DeKalb
2.53%
Shelby 2.45%
Putnam 2.31%
Robertson 2.27%

Recent Immigration Patterns

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This perspective reveals, for example, the interesting case of Hamblen County, which turns out to be one of the most immigrant-intensive counties in the state. Generally, however, this data reinforces the urban character of the state's immigration. Immigration is clearly tracking the perimeter of the Nashville MSA as well as the Memphis and Chattanooga metro areas. Rural western Tennessee, the upper Cumberland plateau, and the Appalachian region of the state are far less touched by immigration, typically showing foreign-born populations of under 2% of the total county population. At those levels, it is difficult to imagine that immigration has substantially altered or affected the local economy or society.

A further measure of county immigration is its rate of growth. How rapidly is the immigrant population growing relative to the local population? Here we present two maps that measure growth in slightly different ways. The first shows the percentage of the 2010 population that has immigrated into the county since 1995. The second is a map of the percentage growth of the immigrant population between 2000 and 2005-2009.

The two maps do not yield markedly different results. We pick up one additional pattern. Relatively, the Chattanooga-Knoxville corridor appears to have experienced greater immigrant growth than many other areas of the state, but the basic finding remains the same. The state's major metro areas, particularly Nashville, Chattanooga, and Memphis, are where immigration is having its biggest impact in the state. In only three counties, Bedford, Davidson, and Hamblen, do new immigrants (those arriving after 1995) compose more than 5% of the total county population. Elsewhere state counties are experiencing much smaller levels of immigration than in most of the United States.

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% of 2010 Population That Has Immigrated
into County since 1995 [larger view]

percent county population that has immigrated into county since 1995

% Growth of Immigrant Population
between 2000 and 2005-2009 [larger view]

perent growth of immigrant population between 2000 and 2005-9