Immigrant Communities

the united states is a country of immigrants.

Whether in search of opportunities or personal freedoms, whether starting new businesses or fleeing civil war, people immigrate to create new lives for themselves and their families. The immigrants who have chosen to stay in the Philadelphia region have not only started anew for themselves, they have also imbued cultural richness into our society. Every immigrant carries with him or her a unique experience and history.

View the Welcoming Center's recent presentations on immigration demographics in the Philadelphia region, or learn more about what attracts newcomers in our Choosing Philadelphia report.

WHO ARE PHILADELPHIA'S IMMIGRANTS?
 

The Top 5 countries of origin for the foreign-born population in Pennsylvania have shifted dramatically in the last 40 years.  The region's foreign-born are not only emigrating from different countries than their predecessors, but they are also settling in different parts of the region.  Immigrants are no longer migrating exclusively to inner-city neighborhoods.  Today, many settle directly in suburban communities. 

Top Countries of Origin, Pennsylvania

1970

2009

Italy

India

Germany

Mexico

USSR/Russia

China

Poland

Vietnam

England

Dominican Republic

 

WHERE ARE IMMIGRANTS SETTLING IN PHILADELPHIA?
 

Immigrant Philadelphia: From Cobblestone Streets to Korean Soap Operas

In 2005, the Welcoming Center researched and compiled quantitative and qualitative data about the immigrant communities in Philadelphia. Our findings spotlight both the ethnic groups and the remarkable individuals who have chosen to make Philadelphia home. Our full publication is available for order. You can also view the publication online or this  abbreviated document for a description of immigrant communities organized by continent and country of origin.

Note: This publication was developed in 2005 and does not include all of the immigrant communities in Philadelphia, particularly the ones that have experienced high growth over the last 5 years.  

MORE ABOUT IMMIGRANT SETTLEMENT PATTERNS IN GREATER PHILADELPHIA
 

In recent years, there have been several reports about the immigration trends in Philadelphia.  View a sample of these reports below, or contact us with specific questions

Recent Immigration to Philadelphia: Regional Change in a Re-Emerging Gateway

According to this 2008 report from the Brookings Institution, nearly 75 percent of labor force growth in the greater Philadelphia region since 2000 is attributable to immigrants. Immigrant growth in the suburbs has outpaced the city’s growth. “Philadelphia’s re-emergence as an immigrant gateway brings both opportunities and challenges for policymakers, service providers and communities throughout the region,” states the report.

Learn more about the growth and characteristics of the foreign born in Philadelphia, by accessing the report.

Philadelphia Migration Project

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are currently studying the demographics of immigration in the Delaware Valley. As part of the Philadelphia Migration Project, Michael Katz and Mathew Creighton are tracking regional immigration trends over the past 30 years. Their work provides an overview of the historical impact of immigration on Greater Philadelphia to date, and predicts what effect immigrants will have on the city’s future.
To learn about some of their initial findings check out this presentation.