Immigrants moving out of cities to suburbs; Minnesota Somali example

The Census Bureau has a new tracking program (Census Explorer) which allows users to follow the demographic changes in cities and towns across America.  Here is what the Star Tribune reported on Tuesday (emphasis mine):

Yussuf Shafie admits it wasn’t easy being among the first Somali immigrants to arrive in Burnsville’s schools.

Yussuf Shafie opened his Burnsville African restaurant in 2012. Photo by John Gessner

“It wasn’t as diverse as it is today, I’ll tell you that. It was hard to communicate with peers and stuff.”

But now that there’s a “huge Somali population” in the area, he says, things are going swimmingly at his year-old Tawakal Restaurant in the suburb’s downtown. Nor is the place just for immigrants; it functions as an easy point of contact for all kinds of cultures.

“It’s open to everyone who has a wallet,” he cheerfully declares. “If you have a wallet, we can get along!”

He is part of what one analyst on Tuesday called a “dramatic shift” of immigrants out of the central cities after the U.S. Census Bureau released its latest batch of data tracing demographic change.

Burnsville and Eagan emerge among the state’s top 10 destinations for East Africans, while nearby Shakopee is among the leaders for Southeast Asians. Eden Prairie is the state’s leading home for immigrants from India.

“We recently did an analysis showing that every big minority group is now majority suburban,” said University of Minnesota demographer Will Craig.


Those moves are visible in a new online mapping program the Census Bureau unveiled on Tuesday, called Census Explorer. The program allows people to easily trace key changes in their own neighborhoods from 1990 to 2000 to today.

Of course, as we learned years ago, the federal refugee resettlement contractors are actively seeking out smaller cities and towns for resettlement of third world refugees.  So, it isn’t necessarily some great spontaneous happening.  And, then there is the meatpacker-induced demographic change!

And, come to think of it, we have been told over and over again that immigrants are re-building the inner cities in places like Buffalo or Erie, PA, this news would indicate that is just a bunch of spin and that the immigrants want to get out of the cities as fast as they can.  This news also means that ‘Welcoming America’ (Tom Negri and David Lubell) are selling Cleveland a bill of goods when they want Cleveland to seek more immigrants to re-build that city.   Sure looks like the immigrants will be out of there soon too!

The photo is from Sun This Week, here.   Just FYI Burnsville has a new mosque too!

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