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Immigrant boom in suburbs

Wednesday, Aug 30, 2006

These are amazing numbers.

The number of foreign-born U.S. citizens jumped by nearly 38 percent in the suburbs over the last five years — leaping almost 50 percent in DuPage County alone and doubling in Will and Grundy counties, according to an analysis of Census information by a pro-immigrant group.

Calling it “a fundamental sea change of where immigrant citizens are living,” the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights argues the changes have far-reaching political ramifications. […]

Most important politically is the rise in the number of immigrants who have become U.S. citizens, making them eligible to vote. In the last five years the number of naturalized citizens in Illinois rose 23.1 percent, to 736,161.

But the real growth has been in the suburbs.

While Chicago only experienced a 4 percent increase in naturalized citizens of voting age during the period, the suburbs saw a boom of 37.5 percent.

The 48.2 percent rise in DuPage County means that 14.4 percent of its voting age population are naturalized citizens. In Will and Grundy counties, the number of adult naturalized citizens doubled, making them 6.3 percent of the total voting age population.

Read the full report here, and read the full press release here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

8 Comments
  1. - True Observer - Wednesday, Aug 30, 06 @ 11:41 am:

    I doubt the naturalized citizens, many of whom had to wait years and possibly decades in line to come to the U.S., are going to be overly sympathetic to illegal aliens being given a pass on what they had to go through.


  2. - Bill Baar - Wednesday, Aug 30, 06 @ 12:21 pm:

    It’s bad news for the City and Cook County.


  3. - Bridget Dooley - Wednesday, Aug 30, 06 @ 2:25 pm:

    True Observer, many legal, naturalized citizens have family members or friends who are here illegally or who have been on wait lists to come here for many, many years. Don’t count on that particular division amongst immigrants. Naturalized citizens are not likely to favor seeing their family and friends criminalized for seeking a better life for themselves, legal or not.


  4. - rachel - Wednesday, Aug 30, 06 @ 3:41 pm:

    I find it odd, but par for the course that no one has commented on this.I have requested that pamphlets and brochures from my Springfield counterparts be translated for the Spanish speaking population in this area. The response I get is that there is not a need. Maybe these numbers will change some minds. Eligible to vote does not mean registered to vote…but someone should start reaching out and giving them a reason to register.


  5. - cermak_rd - Wednesday, Aug 30, 06 @ 3:49 pm:

    Bridget Dooley,

    That’s partially true. Poll legal immigrants and they’ll say people should wait their turn… On the other hand, try to deport their sibling or the young lad that’s stepping out with their niece and it’s a different story.


  6. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Aug 30, 06 @ 6:36 pm:

    As a census junkie, this just re-confirms what has been happening for at least the last 5 years and probably more. Cook County and Chicago have been hemmorhaging people in nation-leading numbers, and the immigrants who used to keep the native ex-migration in balance are now bypassing the city and inner burbs completely, and settling in places like Joliet, Aurora, Elgin and beyond.

    Chicago-centric urbanists would like to reverse the trend by putting the screws to the suburbs with government carrots and sticks, but it’s hard to legislate against personal preference. They ought to be concentrating on making Chicago and Cook a more desirable and affordable place for those who might be persuaded to live there.


  7. - NW burbs - Wednesday, Aug 30, 06 @ 7:05 pm:

    Kinda makes all the extremists who hate illegal immigrants and promote violence (and can rationalize why white illegal immigrants are ok while brown illegal immigrants are not) look a bit like they’re soon to be on the short end of the political stick. While certainly illegal immigrants are barred from voting (and conservatives have their slippery slope arguments about that issue too), their legal family and friends are eligible to vote — and the conservative extremists are waking them up to a need to vote.

    America’s a melting pot. Get used to it.


  8. - anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 30, 06 @ 7:37 pm:

    as I’ve read extensively about this subject all I can say is look out reds good news for blues. as long as we reach out to potential voters–you’re right Rachel. voter registration and education is pivotal and having that information in both languages is not just a symbolic gesture of goodwill but pivotal. Latinos value the fact that someone reaches out to them in their own language although most who are eligible to vote do speak English.


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