In a continuation of a recent trend, recently released data from the 2005-2009 American Community Survey shows more immigrants are moving to the suburbs:
The country’s biggest population gains were in suburban areas. But, in a departure from past decades when whites led the rise, now it is because of minorities. More than a third of all 13.3 million new suburbanites were Hispanic, compared with 2.5 million blacks and 2 million Asians. In all, whites accounted for a fifth of suburban growth.
Even in rural America, where the population grew the slowest — just 2 percent since 2000 compared with 7 percent nationwide — foreign-born residents accounted for 37 percent of that growth. Three-quarters of them were not citizens, suggesting that they had arrived only recently in the states.
As the article notes, this recent trend runs counter to the typical American immigrant experience one learns about in history class where immigrants settled first in big cities like New York, Boston, or Chicago and then moved out to the suburbs in subsequent generations.
But this trend also has the potential to literally change the face of suburbia. The stereotypical view of the suburbs is of a wealthy, white community with shady streets, good schools, and big houses. While this has some grounding in reality, there is a darker side to this: many of these communities effectively excluded minorities. Even today, there are a variety of issues on this front in suburbia including affordable housing and exclusionary zoning. With more minorities now moving to the suburbs, where will they live? In the Chicago metropolitan region, there are definitely pockets of Latinos in the suburbs (see page 21 of this PDF report – based on 2000 Census data).
The American suburbs of 2050 will probably look much different than they have in the past. What remains to be seen is whether different racial and ethnic groups live together in suburbs or fall into patterns similar to segregation levels found in many major cities.
h/t The Infrastructurist