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Census Reports 36 Percent of New Yorkers Foreign Born - 2002-05-24


A detailed profile of the people of New York has been released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Every ten years the government agency counts the population and gives a description by categories such as race, gender, ethnicity, education and economic status. New data from the 2000 Census was released Thursday, including information on a growing percentage of immigrants.

Government demographers say out of the more than eight million New Yorkers, about one million are immigrants who arrived in the 1990s. About 36 percent of the city's residents are foreign born, compared to about 28 percent a decade earlier. Some new immigrants are considered the "working poor," living at or near the poverty line.

New York City population analyst, Joseph Salvo, works closely with the U.S. Census Bureau. "There is a larger and more diverse population that has become more foreign born," he said. "The city experienced an increase in non-English speaking population, which has significant problems with English. European residents continue to give way to new groups from the Caribbean, Asia, South American and Africa."

Mr. Salvo said that the largest new immigrant group comes from the Dominican Republic. Of the city's growing number of Asian immigrants, the majority is Chinese.

But Mr. Salvo said the most significant change can be seen in the increasing number of immigrants from Bangladesh arriving in New York. "In the 1980s," he said, "there were almost no immigrants coming to New York from Bangladesh. In the late 1980s that started to change. By the late 1990s,Bangladesh was number six on the list of top source countries to New York City."

Mr. Salvo said he feels confident about the profile being drawn from the 2000 Census because, he said, it is the most accurate to date.

New York's Census Bureau director, Lester Farthing, credits community outreach efforts aimed at securing the cooperation of immigrant groups often reluctant to talk to officials. Mr. Farthing said, "You go to the folks who are working in that community. They give you the pulse. We ask them to give us a path or an inroad to meet some of the people that they work with, the movers, the shakers of a community."

Mr. Farthing said the New York Census Bureau is now sharing its results directly with immigrant communities to help build trust and ensure future cooperation.

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