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Minnesota Immigration Trends: African and Asian Origins Increase

Minnesota immigration has been expanding to new cultures in recent years. When Minnesota was founded as a state, immigrants from Europe were common. And for decades there have been many Hispanic immigrants to Minnesota, especially from Mexico.

In recent years, however, Minnesota has also welcomed more immigrants from Asia and Africa.

In fact, Minnesota now boasts a much wider range of cultures as more immigrants from different countries all over the world enter the state. At a recent naturalization ceremony in Minneapolis, a judge presided over the swearing in of 1,509 people from 100 different countries. It was the largest number of people becoming citizens in one day in the state’s history.

At the swearing in, only a few immigrants were originally from European countries, including France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden. More immigrants had countries of origin in Africa, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia and Somalia. Asia was also a common continent of origin with many immigrants coming from China, India, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Immigrants from Mexico also were well represented at the Minneapolis ceremony, with 84 people sworn in at the Minneapolis ceremony. For decades, Hispanic people have been a driving force in immigrant communities throughout Minnesota.

Somalia, a country in East Africa, has recently been the most common country of origin for immigrants to Minnesota. Out of 11,044 new U.S. citizens during fiscal year 2011, 2,800 of them were from Somalia. Behind Somalia, was Laos in 2011 with 955 new immigrants.

Some immigrants from Laos and East Africa are refugees, looking for new opportunities in Minnesota. With more immigrant communities now represented in Minnesota, the state now has a richer cultural tapestry than ever before.

Source: Star Tribune, “Cultures & immigration beat: A glimpse of the new ‘Old World’,” Allie Shah, September 11, 2012

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