A survey of New York City households taken by the US Census Bureau in 1999 has revealed that 40 percent of the city’s 7.4 million people are now foreign-born.
This figure quantifies and confirms what is apparent on the city’s streets, subways and in other public places. Roughly 100,000 immigrants have been arriving and making New York City their home each year for the past decade.
One million have come since 1990. This has meant an almost incredible jump in the percentage of foreign-born New Yorkers, from 28 to 40 percent, in less than ten years.
The immigrant presence in the city has now matched the level of 40 percent recorded in 1910, at the height of the 1880-1920 wave of immigration which brought millions of workers to the US.
During those decades the newcomers arrived mainly from southern and eastern Europe, joining previous waves from Germany, Ireland, and England. Today the immigrants come from literally every corner of the globe.
The number of New Yorkers born in the Dominican Republic, for instance, has jumped from 230,000 in 1990 to 387,000 in 1999. During this same period city residents born in the former Soviet Union nearly tripled, from 81,000 to 229,000; South Asians from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh increased their numbers from 67,000 to 146,000; and the Mexican population nearly quadrupled, from 35,000 to 133,000.