Dec 9, 2022 - News

Cedar Rapids listed as top destination for immigrants' second move

Top metro areas for immigrants moving within the U.S.
Top 25 larger metros where immigrants make their “second move” to. Data: The George W. Bush Institute; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Immigrants who are already living in the United States are choosing more affordable metros for their "second move."

A new report by the Bush Institute lists Cedar Rapids as one of the best places for them to go.

  • The living standards for immigrants in Cedar Rapids are comparable to the country's 25 largest metros, according to the report.

Why it matters: In recent decades, immigrants in the U.S. have increasingly chosen to live in smaller cities and more suburban areas — spreading demographic and social change across the country, writes Axios' Stef Kight.

  • Immigration into the U.S. is critical for population and economic growth — and will be more so as the population continues to age.

Driving the news: Newly-arrived immigrants are initially choosing larger metros to live in, but during their secondary moves, they are going to cities with more affordable housing and "growth-friendly" tax policies, according to the report.

Zoom in: In 2018, Cedar Rapids created a "Welcoming Cedar Rapids" action plan focused on attracting international workers and providing funding support for their education and entrepreneurial goals.

  • Between 2010-20, Cedar Rapids' immigrant population grew by 66%, according to the report.
  • The city (population approximately 137,000), along with Sioux Falls, are the best smaller metros for "productivity" — meaning earning levels in comparison to education attainment, according to the report.

The bottom line: Cities like New York and Miami are increasingly losing immigrant populations.

  • The study argues state and local governments should adopt policies that are more welcoming toward immigrants.

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