More than three decades of rapid growth in the country's foreign-born population came to a halt last year, census data show, as surging unemployment made the U.S. economy less attractive to outsiders.We've already had reports of smaller numbers of illegal aliens coming into the United States thanks to the recession, but not exactly a drop in their number, so it is interesting that we would see this trend among legal immigrants.
In California, which has a long history of attracting immigrants, the number of foreign-born residents actually declined, shrinking 1.6%.
"This is clearly a consequence of the economy, with the biggest impact on Mexican and low-skilled immigrants," said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who analyzed the census figures, which are to be officially released today. "It shows that these immigrants respond to the economy."
Nationwide, the number of foreign-born residents fell an estimated 99,000, or 0.3%, to 37.97 million.
Other interesting facts related to Orange County are that a whopping 47% of residents of Garden Grove, home of OC's Koreatown that's not officially a Koreatown, are foreign born. Meanwhile, about one-third of Santa Ana residents are uninsured.
The data is hardly surprising for those who know about Orange County's demographics. Rates of insured are in the 90-percent range in affluent communities, places that vote Republican and tend not to support Obama's health care plans.
What they don't know is that by opposing universal coverage, they are perpetuating OC's (and California's) clogged emergency rooms, which they end up paying for in the long run when the costs of stratospheric emergency care must be recouped and which may also lead to emergency rooms at OC's major hospitals being crowded enough that even upper-class patients might die because of unavailable care.