While browsing about the Brookings Institution website, we discovered some interesting facts about immigrants and the Spokane area. This study took a unique turn to actually consider and quantify the new gateways for immigrants in the United States. According the Brookings Institution study - From ‘There’ to ‘Here’: Refugee Resettlement in Metropolitan America - an analysis of refugees as a percentage of overall immigrants, the Spokane area ranked fifth in a list of Medium-sized metropolitan areas.
In 2000 there were 9,131 foreign born residents who entered the U.S. between 1990-2000 (U.S. Census). Between 1990-1999 a total of 4,466 refugees resettled in Spokane or 48.9% (Office of Refugee Resettlement). Spokane was behind Fresno-CA, Fargo-ND, Erie-PA, Sioux Falls-IA, and Birmingham-NY. Between 1983-2004, over 6,800 refugees settled in Spokane
Using this percentage, Spokane outpaced Boise, Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Tacoma, and the Portland-Vancouver areas during the same timeframe. Not only outpaced, but waaaay outpaced as can be seen in the table. With over 400,000 people in the Spokane MSA the number of refugees resettled during the 10-year period from 1990-1999 (4,566) represents around 1% of our population. Not a hugely significant number, but interesting nevertheless. As always, for your convenience we've compiled the data for cities around our region/state. Think about it next time you're in line at Costco.