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City of Rochester Communications Burear

City of Rochester Communications Burear


As the nation debates the fate of child immigrant detainees and immigration reform, let’s look at immigrants in the Rochester area.

The following data comes from the U.S. Census 2012 American Community Survey.

– Monroe County had 61,247 foreign-born residents in 2012. This means they were not U.S. citizens at birth.

– Monroe County has a smaller share of immigrants than the state and nation. In the United States, 13 percent of residents are foreign-born. Forty-six percent of them are naturalized citizens. In New York State, 23 percent of people are foreign-born and 53 percent of them are naturalized citizens. In the City of Rochester, 10 percent of residents are foreign-born, with 42 percent being naturalized citizens. In Monroe County, 8 percent of residents are foreign-born, with 52 being naturalized citizens.

– The largest share of local immigrants comes from Asia – 38 percent. Twenty-one percent hail from Latin America, 30 percent from Europe, 8 percent from Africa and 4 percent from North America.

– The vast majority – 87 percent – of Monroe County immigrants speak English at home.

– Immigrants are older than the rest of the population. The median age of foreign-born people in Monroe County is 43, compared to 38 for the population as a whole. The median age for naturalized citizens is 53. The median age for non-naturalized citizens is 33. These trends are similar to the nation and state.

– The largest group of foreign-born individuals in Monroe County  – 42 percent – arrived in the U.S. before 1990. Four in five people in this group have become naturalized citizens. The next largest group of immigrants – 29 percent of Monroe County’s foreign-born residents – came in the 2000s. One in five is now a citizen. Eighteen percent of Monroe County’s residents born outside of the country arrived in the 1990s. Seventy percent of them are now citizens. Since 2010, more than 6,700 immigrants have arrived.

– The neighborhoods surrounding Rochester’s two largest colleges have the highest rate of foreign-born residents.

– Foreign-born adults in Monroe County have a higher rate of educational attainment than the population as a whole. Thirty-eight percent of immigrants had a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to 34 percent of the rest of the population.

– Historical footnote: In 1855, 44 percent of Rochester’s residents were immigrants. Between 1890 and World War I, the percentage of immigrants plus the children of immigrants hovered around 70 percent.

Update: Several people are asking on Facebook if this data includes unauthorized immigrants and refugees. The census does not break them out as a separate group, so if these individuals agreed to be counted, they are included in the data. A recent study estimated there are 750,000 illegal immigrants in New York State, with most being in New York City.


Links of the Day:


– This story in the Buffalo News clearly shows there’s limited economic impact from the Bills and a new Bills stadium. So why do we give these teams the upper hand – and tons of tax dollars?

– Why do we allow government to cut pensions while funding new sports stadiums? Only one is a true economic activity generator.

– Is Bon Jovi really lying about keeping the Bills in Buffalo?

The Albany Times Union editorial board says the governor owes an explanation and apology.

– The New York Times editorial board comes out in favor of legalized pot.

– Carl Paladino calls Scott Congel’s West Seneca development a con job and ripoff.

– NSA-like: Monroe County has 3,765,555 license plate tracker hits in storage. We all might be in there.

– The list of businesses getting Start-Up New York tax breaks in Binghamton is not impressive. An audio-visual firm that is creating 11 jobs?

– A lawsuit challenging teacher tenure in New York will be filed Monday.

“Pieces of other people’s lives haunt their own.”

– College offers plenty of opportunities to meet new people. Why do colleges insist your roommate has to be one of them?

– The Seneca Park Zoo went undercover to survey Rochester wetlands.

– Beer is Americans’ adult beverage of choice.

12 Responses to Facts About Local Immigrants

  1. So this is the data? Why is it that my observations are of mostly teen to thirty year old Hispanics that don’t speak English? Could it be that they don’t answer census forms? Of course, my observations are from the local courts and criminal justice systems. My observations must be a mirage. While we are on this subject, I always thought the dream of coming to America was to become American. This meant adopting our culture. That meant following our laws. That meant speaking our language. It seems to me the politically correct version now is to come to America and KEEP your culture and your language and follow your own laws. America is not America anymore. Is this progress? You be the judge!

    • July 27, 2014 at 10:47 pm Larry Kilbury responds:

      Very good, OAJ, and I agree. I would not argue with RB’s facts. But why is it so common to have to press 1 for English?

    • July 28, 2014 at 8:27 am PJ Birkman responds:

      Progress? No. More of the same. “America is not America anymore” is what the nativists and reactionaries have been saying for centuries. The Germans/Italians/Irish/Jews/Chinese/ etc. aren’t learning the language and assimilating. They are changing this country for the worse. And then Amrerica adjusts and they adjust and we move on to complaining about the next group of immigrants and pretending it’s different somehow.

      And yes the demographics of the courts and criminal justice ARE different from Rochester and Monroe County as whole aside from any observer bias. I work in the healthcare system, but that doesn’t mean that the area is much older and sicker then the census data shows…

  2. I think this data is fairly unsurprising. It’s really tough to make any reasonable comparisons to the rest of the state as NYC is such a large portion of the state and so obviously demographically different when it comes to immigration. It would be really interesting to see how we compare to Erie, Onondaga, and Albany counties. Also interesting would be a look at Monroe along with all of it’s contiguous counties, which would also paint a very different picture I imagine with the amount of farm work in surrounding areas.

  3. July 27, 2014 at 11:01 pm Larry Kilbury responds:

    I appreciate the “Rochestarian” and do not question her facts because she is a very good reporter. Something seems to be amiss with her data. Her data does not explain why people have to press 1 on the phone for English. Her facts don’t seem to take into account that the apple orchards and vineyards seem to be worked by people who don’t speak English. Is my local library the only one to have a complete Spanish section? Perhaps she is only counting the legal immigrants who don’t answer surveys. I wonder how many Chinese are illegals. They may speak English at home but certainly not when they are cooking at Chinese restaurants. I’m just not sure that the immigration picture looks like the one in your article.

  4. July 29, 2014 at 9:48 am dew4794 responds:

    Perhaps one statistic that sneaks under is the huge number of Puerto Ricans that migrate here to New York and are American citizens already because PR is a common wealthy of the United States. Many are poor, uneducated, and on welfare who “can’t make it in PR”. While I’m sure this is not always the case, it is a reality. And of course the illegal drug traffic come through PR.

  5. July 31, 2014 at 11:37 am Adrian responds:

    We have hundreds of vacant houses along Hudson Avenue, Jefferson Ave, etc. But yeah, let’s kick out anyone who doesn’t speak English so that I don’t have to press an extra button on the phone.

  6. August 12, 2014 at 11:13 am dew4794 responds:

    Report out today from WXXI that between 2010 and 13 144,000 Puerto Ricans immigrated to the US looking for jobs and family situations. Huge number coming to NY because of contacts here. This immigration misses your topic because PR’s are US citizens who are on welfare.

  7. August 12, 2014 at 11:43 am Adrian Martin responds:

    it’s not immigration if they’re coming from the United States.

  8. August 12, 2014 at 11:52 am dew4794 responds:

    Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, not a state nor a territory. it is this huge influx of immigrants legal or otherwise to New York that is the issue, not your technicality. And you make my point exactly, because they are US citizens that the count gets missed.

  9. August 12, 2014 at 12:15 pm Adrian Martin responds:

    DC isn’t a state either, does that mean when I moved from DC to Rochester I immigrated? Of course not. PR is part of the US just like DC.
    I think what you’re getting at is that Puerto Ricans speak Spanish and therefore should be counted as immigrants. That is wrong.

  10. August 12, 2014 at 2:15 pm dew4794 responds:

    Puerto Ricans are a different race and speak a different language other than English. in this country we have legal immigrants and undocumented immigrants. just because their island happens to be a Commonwealth, doesn’t mean that they are not immigrating (in the broad sense of the word) to the 50 United States. Rachel’s point misses the huge influx of another latino population that is hugely receiving welfare, low education. unemployed. it’s how you want to slice this pie.

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