Forget Miami, Los Angeles and New York—America's newest immigrant capitals are the country's recent boom towns.Top of the list: Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., with a 122% increase in its foreign-born population from 2000 to 2007, according to a Brookings Institution analysis of U.S. Census Bureau information. ...So, we had this stupid housing bubble creating lots of construction jobs in boom towns like Las Vegas. But actual American citizen workers didn't even much get in on the benefits of having those jobs building unneeded McMansions in the desert because we let in millions of immigrants who would do those jobs for $5 or $10 less per hour.
Just as it's easy to spot America's boom towns by looking at where immigrant growth has increased the most, the places where the bubble has burst are also instantly recognizable. Case in point: Cape Coral, Fla., where 28% of the metro area's working immigrant community worked in construction-related jobs in 2007. Now that the Real Estate party's over, Cape Coral-Fort Myers is one of the worst places to ride out the economic storm.
The situation is much the same in Las Vegas, which ranks No. 4 on our list. It has been one of the fastest-growing cities in America in terms of gross domestic product (67% increase from 2001 to 2006) and foreign-born population (65% increase from 2001 to 2007). Census Bureau data show 58% of Sin City's working immigrants held vulnerable construction or service-sector jobs.[America's New Immigrant Capitals, By Brian Wingfield and Jewel Edwards, October 24, 2008]