Thursday, June 17, 2004

AP Wire | 06/17/2004 | Minnesota's immigrant populations continue to rise

AP Wire | 06/17/2004 | Minnesota's immigrant populations continue to rise

Posted on Thu, Jun. 17, 2004

Minnesota's immigrant populations continue to rise

Associated Press

ST. PAUL - Minnesota's immigrant population continues to grow, with Somalis, Latinos and Hmong showing the largest increases, according to a state report issued Thursday.

The Somali population more than doubled - jumping 124 percent - between the 2000 Census and 2004, bringing their numbers in Minnesota to 25,000. The Hmong population was up 32 percent to 60,000, while the Latino population jumped 22 percent to 175,000.

"Minnesota has been a welcoming place, and we've got good services available for these people when they come here," said the report's author, senior research analyst Barbara J. Ronningen of the State Demographic Center. And even with the economic slowdown, employment has remained strong both in the Twin Cities and in agriculture-related sectors across the rest of the state.

The biggest group of new immigrants in Minnesota's near future is the Hmong. A group estimated at 5,000 begins arriving Monday from a Thai refugee camp.

The report said more than 3,000 additional refugees will arrive in Minnesota this year. It predicted more refugees from Burma, along with large numbers of Africans, as well.

The report defined "immigrant" broadly, including every Latino in the state - even if they are citizens and even if their families have been here for several generations. So while the report said there were 175,000 Latino immigrants in Minnesota in 2004, that included more than 84,000 who were born as U.S. citizens. Many in the Hmong population were also U.S.-born citizens.

Ronningen said they were classified as immigrants because they often continue to have unique needs even after the first generation.

The report also estimated there are 25,000 Vietnamese, 12,500 Russians, 13,000 Laotians, and 7,500 Cambodians and Ethiopians in the state.

Somalis were one of the most recent immigrant groups, mostly arriving after 1990. Ronningen said the number of Somalis arriving as refugees slowed in 2002 and 2003 but increased again during the first part of this year.

Ronningen's report used 2000 Census data and combined it with school data to estimate the 2004 populations.


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