As many studies have already shown, most newcomers settle in large U.S. metros when they arrive in the country. According to researcher Audrey Singer, more than half of the immigrants lived in five big immigrant hubs between 1930 and 1990, and by 2014, 80 percent of the U.S. immigrants resided in 57 metros which had distinctive patterns of immigrant settlement.
What’s less visible from such studies, though, is that in many cases, immigrants literally built the cities they inhabit. For instance, homes in New Orleans, destroyed by the Hurricane Katrina, were built with the help of Latino workers who came to the city for jobs and then made it their home. In Charlotte, North Carolina, many of the buildings were constructed over the last two decades, the same period that Latino immigration was on the rise. The share of Latinos in the city grew from 0.098 percent in 1980 to 13.1 percent in 2014.
As of 2016, the importance of foreign-born workers has also extended massively over the high-tech hubs, such as San Jose and San Francisco. More than half of the 87 billion-dollar start-ups in the country were founded by immigrants.
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