Immigrants Revitalize Cities
Vacant homes and ghostly streets were not unusual in Philadelphia. As reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
By 2000, many had giving up on Philadelphia, which had seen its middle class flee and crime surge as row-house neighborhoods hollowed out
But a new inflow of immigrants has drastically changed this picture.
Between 2000 and 2006, Greater Philadelphia’s immigrant population grew by 113,000, compromising nearly 9 percent of the total population. Immigrants are revitalizing Philadelphia by starting businesses in poor areas and contributing to the local economy as workers and consumers. According to the Brookings Institution, nearly 75 percent of greater Philadelphia’s labor force growth since 2000 is attributable to immigrants.
Philadelphia is not an isolated case. Detroit is also benefiting from the positive impact and contributions of a growing immigrant population. Cleveland, a city that has lost half of its population, is now exploring ways to attract immigrants for revitalization.
To be able to replicate Philadelphia’s success story, cities need to formulate integrative immigrant-friendly policies. Policies that effectively integrate immigrants in the workforce and the economy benefit immigrants and the native-born—as Anne O’Callaghan, founder of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, says:
If immigrants come and do well, the whole city would flourish