Immigration Drives Growth, Vibrancy of New Haven Region, Study Finds

If Greater New Haven is thriving, the region’s rapidly-growing immigrant population is a key reason, according to a new research study. The report, entitled Understanding the Impact of Immigration in Greater New Haven, compiles data from federal, state and local government agencies, as well as information generated locally by DataHaven and The Community Foundation of Greater New Haven. Viewed as “an important step in its effort to enhance the civic and economic participation of immigrants in Greater New Haven,” the report was undertaken to provide a snapshot of the immigrants living in Greater New Haven and Connecticut, the impact of local population change and diversity, and the community and economic impact. It is intended to help the general public, policymakers and local leaders understand the impact of immigration in the region to inform discussions and community action.UIGNH_cover_600

According to the report:

  • Approximately 1 in 8 residents of Greater New Haven is foreign-born, originating in countries in all the world’s regions.
  • While the native-born population in Greater New Haven has barely increased since 2000, immigrants settling in the area have caused rapid population growth, making New Haven the fastest-growing city in Connecticut over this period
  • About half of all immigrants are naturalized US citizens; the other half are legal permanent residents, legal temporary residents or undocumented immigrants.
  • Greater New Haven is attracting immigrants from a wide range of countries, with the greatest increases in numerical terms between 2000-2012 attributable to immigration from Mexico (3,168), India (2,729), China (2,292), Jamaica (1,532) and Ecuador (1,382).This report explores how immigration impacts the development of both Greater New Haven and Connecticut.

“It is clear from the report that the Greater New Haven community is enhanced in many ways by immigration,” says William W. Ginsberg, President & CEO of The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. “The data demonstrate that our rapidly growing foreign-born population is successfully building productive and contributing lives here – by working, by creating small businesses that build wealth, by owning homes, by educating their children, and by contributing to the diversity and cultural richness of this community.”foreign born population

The report also cites data indicating that the immigrant population in Greater New Haven is highly-skilled, compared to other areas. Among immigrants in this region, there are more than twice as many high-skilled workers as low-skilled workers in the region, while data for the United States as a whole show slightly less than one high-skilled worker for every low-skilled worker.

From 2000 to 2012, Greater New Haven’s population as a whole increased by more than 27,000 people, according to the report. Of that growth, about 75 percent (20,165) were foreign-born residents. About half of immigrants in Greater New Haven are naturalized citizens.

The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven explored local public opinion on immigration by interviewing key stakeholders and administering an online survey to its constituents. The survey found that “although immigration is a complex issue, the Greater New Haven community widely agrees that foreign-born people contribute to the economic, cultural, and social well-being of the region.”  Nearly all (97 percent) respondents said that the issue of immigration is very or somewhat important to Connecticut.  Only 31 percent of respondents thought they understood immigration policy extremely or fairly well.

pop growthIn New Haven’s neighborhoods in particular, the boost in immigrants has revitalized communities and spurred new businesses.  From 1970 to 1990, the foreign-born population in most New Haven neighborhoods remained flat or declined, and these neighborhoods suffered from overall population decline—similar to other central city neighborhoods in post-industrial cities. Since 1990, the report found, the foreign-born population in many city neighborhoods has rebounded sharply, particularly in areas such as Edgewood, West River, Fair Haven, and the Hill. These areas have seen a large influx of population and business haven map

Statewide, among Connecticut’s immigrant population entering the US since 2000, only 15 percent are Europeans. 29 percent were born in Asia, and 19 percent come from South America. By contrast, 78 percent of Connecticut’s immigrant population that entered the US before 1960 was born in Europe.

The report was compiled and written by Mary Buchanan and Mark Abraham of DataHaven, with assistance from staff at The Community Foundation.

In 2015, The Community Foundation’s work will include dedicated grantmaking and other support for nonprofits working in this area, including support for advocacy efforts on State and Federal immigration policy, efforts to identify and support emerging leaders in the immigrant community, and public education and other efforts to enhance the community’s understanding of the social, cultural and economic benefits of immigration for Greater New Haven.

“New Haven has always been a welcoming community, and the surge of immigration in recent years shows us yet again how important immigration is to the growth and success of our community,” Ginsberg added.The Community Foundation is making immigrant integration a strategic focus with the goal that immigrants in Greater New Haven, including undocumented, will achieve greater civic and economic participation and success thereby becoming more fully integrated members of a more welcoming community, the report indicates.

More information on the Foundation’s philanthropy is available at The report is available online at  or by calling The Community Foundation at 203-777-2386.