While major cities in America continue to be melting pots for immigrants from many different nations, small and mid-sized U.S. metros are gaining some ground when it comes to the influx of immigrants. According to data by research and advocacy organization New American Economy published by news site Axios, Akron, Ohio, was the city with the biggest increase in its foreign-born population between 2014 and 2017. Here, the share of inhabitants who were born abroad rose by more than 30 percent but remained at a relatively low 5 percent share of total population.
Other metros with less than a million inhabitants on the list were Omaha, Neb., with an increase of 17.4 percent in its foreign-born population and Fort Myers, Fla., where the foreign-born population increased by 14.6 percent. Seattle with approximately 4 million people in its metro area was the largest city on the list, and also the one with the largest share of foreign-born population compared to total population (almost 19 percent).
One of the reasons for this trend was immigrants looking for affordable cities with dynamic job markets, according to New American Economy. Many smaller metros, especially in the central United States, were struggling with maintaining a large enough labor force, which opened up more opportunities for job seekers.