America’s Melting Pot Cities

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20. Stockton-Lodi, CA
> Odds two residents are from different regions: 38.5%
> Pct. born abroad: 23.0%
> Pct. of foreign-born gained citizenship: 52.1%
> Origin of largest immigrant group: Mexico (48.9% of foreign-born)

In the Stockton-Lodi metro area, there is a 38.5% chance that two residents picked at random will be from different regions of the world, compared to 24.8% nationwide. One of the main waves of immigration to Stockton occurred after the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924, which banned the entry of Asian residents into the United States and created labor shortages throughout the Central Valley. Many residents of the Philippines — which was occupied by the United States at the time and exempt from the ban — came and filled the job gap, working in agricultural jobs and establishing a predominantly Filipino area in downtown Stockton known as Little Manila. Today, foreign-born Filipino Americans constitute 13.5% of Stockton’s foreign-born population, one of the largest shares of any U.S. metro.

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19. El Paso, TX
> Odds two residents are from different regions: 38.6%
> Pct. born abroad: 25.3%
> Pct. of foreign-born gained citizenship: 48.5%
> Origin of largest immigrant group: Mexico (90.7% of foreign-born)

El Paso is one of several cities along the U.S.-Mexico border to rank among the most diverse in America. One major immigration wave in the mid-20th century was during the Bracero Program, a federal labor program meant to fill the labor shortage created by WWII. From 1942 to 1964, more than 4.5 million Mexicans entered the United States through the Bracero Program, and the population of El Paso nearly tripled.

Roughly 23% of the El Paso population was born in Mexico, the fourth largest share and nearly seven times the national figure.

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18. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV
> Odds two residents are from different regions: 38.6%
> Pct. born abroad: 23.1%
> Pct. of foreign-born gained citizenship: 49.2%
> Origin of largest immigrant group: Mexico (38.5% of foreign-born)

While many Americans visit Las Vegas for a temporary stay, in recent decades the city has attracted a large number of permanent residents from outside the country. Today, foreign-born residents constitute 23.1% of the Las Vegas population, far more than the 13.7% national share. Some countries with relatively outsized representation in the Las Vegas metro area include Bulgaria, the Philippines, and Ethiopia.

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17. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
> Odds two residents are from different regions: 38.7%
> Pct. born abroad: 23.1%
> Pct. of foreign-born gained citizenship: 44.7%
> Origin of largest immigrant group: Mexico (7.1% of foreign-born)

Today, foreign-born Europeans constitute an estimated 4.9% of the Bridgeport population, the largest share of any U.S. city. Countries with outsized representation among the Bridgeport foreign-born population include Portugal and Poland, as well as Haiti, Jamaica, Colombia, and Ecuador.

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16. San Diego-Carlsbad, CA
> Odds two residents are from different regions: 39.0%
> Pct. born abroad: 23.3%
> Pct. of foreign-born gained citizenship: 55.0%
> Origin of largest immigrant group: Mexico (44.2% of foreign-born)

An estimated 1.9% of San Diego residents were born in Europe; 9.1% in Asia; 0.4% in Africa; 0.1% in Oceana; 11.3% in Latin America; and 0.4% in other parts of North America — each among the largest shares of any city. Overall, there is a 39.0% chance that two San Diego residents picked at random will be from different parts of the world, far more than the 24.8% national diversity probability.

Some of the most diverse neighborhoods in San Diego include Encanto, Rolando, Talmadge, Paradise, Linda Vista, Serra Mesa, and Mira Mesa.