New Report Ranks The Best And Worst American Cities For Immigrants

New Report Ranks The Best And Worst American Cities For Immigrants
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Updated 7 months ago

TransferWise, an international money transfer app, was founded by immigrants and is dedicated to "fostering a more inviting global community." By studying and rating nine factors that influence how welcoming a city is towards immigrants, TransferWise was able to rank the 50 most populous U.S. cities on their ability to draw in and sustain immigrant populations.

San Francisco, California, snagged the #1 spot.

The city has easily established itself as a bastion for immigrants due to its municipal ID programs, sanctuary city status, and public transit (which may be less omnipresent than those in Chicago and New York, but is also cheaper). The city's only major detractor as a home for immigrants is its cost of living: it's 62.6% higher than the U.S. average. However, Mayor Ed Lee has pledged to create 30,000 new, affordable homes by 2020. As of the writing of this article, he's already created 17,000.

Continuing their friendly rivalry, Chicago edged out New York for the #2 spot.

The Windy City offers a lower cost of living, though both cities took hits for the not-so-cheap nature of their public transportation.

Two cities you might not expect also cracked the top 10.

Thanks to their low cost of living, universal preschool, and sanctuary city statuses, Milwaukee and Baltimore both found themselves in the upper echelon of homes for immigrants. Baltimore may have even ranked higher if their plan to implement official government IDs had already begun. A government ID can be extremely valuable to an immigrant — it can help people gain access to "bank accounts, [schools], and government buildings." Not only that, but having a valid form of ID can make immigrants far less wary of calling law enforcement.

While seven of the top 20 cities were in California, in part due to California's state-wide sanctuary status legislation that limits cooperation with federal immigration enforcement, cities in Texas drifted towards the bottom of the list. Texas Governor Greg Abbott earlier this year signed a bill banning sanctuary cities, greatly impacting Texas cities' placements. Though most of the law has been repealed, parts of it still remain in place, which, combined with a low minimum wage, make living in these cities difficult for immigrants especially. It's worth noting, however, that Austin (#22) and Dallas (#26) were pretty close to cracking the top 20.

Which city nabbed last place? That "honor" is held by Miami, Florida.

This is surprising, considering 60% of its population comprises immigrants. With low affordability and low government support across the board, however, things aren't particularly easy for immigrants in the tropical metropolis. The nail in Miami's coffin was their Cuban-born mayor's decision to revoke their sanctuary city status, a surprising move many citizens saw as a betrayal.

Want to know where your city ranked? Here's the full list:

1. San Francisco, CA
2. Chicago, IL
3. New York, NY
4. San Jose, CA
5. Washington D.C. (tied with Baltimore, MD)
5. Baltimore, MD (tied with Washington D.C.)
7. Seattle, WA
8. Boston, MA
9. Los Angeles, CA
10. Milwaukee, WI
11. San Diego, CA (tied with Detroit, MI)
11. Detroit, MI (tied with San Diego, CA)
13. Oakland, CA (tied with Denver, CO & Philadelphia, PA)
13. Denver, CO (tied with Oakland, CA & Philadelphia, PA)
13. Philadelphia, PA (tied with Oakland, CA & Denver, CO)
16. Albuquerque, NM (tied with Sacramento, CA)
16. Sacramento, CA (tied with Albuquerque, NM)
18. Louisville, KY
19. Long Beach, CA (tied with Minneapolis, MN)
19. Minneapolis, MN (tied with Long Beach, CA)
21. Nashville, TN22. Fresno, CA (tied with Austin, TX)
22. Austin, TX (tied with Fresno, CA)
24. Portland, OR (tied with Wichita, KS)
24. Wichita, KS (tied with Portland, OR)
26. Dallas, TX
27. New Orleans, LA
28. Columbus, OH
29. Raleigh, NC
30. Charlotte, NC (tied with San Antonio, TX)
30. San Antonio, TX (tied with Charlotte, NC)
32. Jacksonville, FL (tied with Oklahoma City, OK)
32. Oklahoma City, OK (tied with Jacksonville, FL)
34. El Paso, TX (tied with Houston, TX)
34. Houston, TX (tied with El Paso, TX)
36. Atlanta, GA
36. Tulsa, OK
38. Memphis, TN
38. Omaha, NE
40. Tucson, AZ
41. Kansas City, MO
42. Mesa, AZ
43. Phoenix, AZ
44. Arlington, TX (tied with Fort Worth, TX)
44. Fort Worth, TX (tied with Arlington, TX)
46. Las Vegas, NV
47. Colorado Springs, CO (tied with Virginia Beach, VA)
47. Virginia Beach, VA (tied with Colorado Springs, CO)
49. Indianapolis, IN
50. Miami, FL