News / USA

US on Front Lines of Demographic Transformation

A residential section of Annandale, Virginia
A residential section of Annandale, Virginia

Multimedia

Audio
Zlatica Hoke

The U.S. population has passed the 300-million mark in the past decade, with non-white groups accounting for most of that growth.  A new study of census data for 100 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. shows that many black, Asian, Hispanic, foreign-born and single people are moving to the suburbs, once populated mostly by white middle-class families with children.

Annandale High School has more than 2500 students, from 85 countries.  They speak more than 40 languages.  The number of students has grown so much in the past decade that many classes take place in a trailer park behind the main building.

The school has five full-time employees to help new immigrants.  They're fluent in Vietnamese, Spanish and Korean. Honduran-born Dinora Gonzalez is a liaison for Hispanic families.

"I deal mostly with low-income families and they don't speak English so they call me for any issue in the school and I get in touch with the school staff, like counselors, teachers and vice versa," said Gonzalez

Annandale High opened its doors in 1954 to a few hundred white students.  Almost all of the residents in the vicinity were white middle-class families with children.

Catherine Quigley's family moved into the neighborhood in 1962.    All of her three children attended Annandale High.

"When my son graduated in 1977 there were about 680 students.  Of that 680, one person was African-American," noted Quigley.

Quigley is one of many original residents who have stayed in the neighborhood as they've aged.  She says most of her neighbors now are Asians, Hispanics and Middle Easterners.  Many of them do not speak English.  And she says some of the community spirit has been lost.

"It was a real neighborhood when we moved here, even though people were from all over the country," she said.  "They had come from cities or villages or towns where it was just expected that you were part of a community.  Now it's not."

But she has made friends with a Lebanese family who moved across the road six years ago.

Joseph Moura moved out of Lebanon ten years ago, after his brother, a policeman, was killed in political violence.  He says Annandale has everything his family needs.

"First, my wife does not drive here. She does not have a driver's license.  Here the shopping is close.  Everything is - gas, laundry - everything is close-by here.  So she can even walk," Moura said.

Moura was a well-paid chef in Lebanon, but he had to change his profession to be able to support his family in America.  Today he runs a small construction business. Like Moura, immigrants have to adjust to a new life, but they also have a profound impact on the United States. William Frey is a demographer at Washington's Brookings Institution.

"People from other parts of the world - Latin America and Asia - are bringing different languages, different cultures and different ways of doing things to this country," noted Frey.

Frey says immigrants, who used to settle in major entry ports, such as New York, Miami and Los Angeles, are now moving into many other metropolitan areas.  And suburbs, especially those with good schools, attract families with young children.  Frey says governments, schools, employers, and politicians running for office will have to connect with these new immigrants. Many Americans are already doing that.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid