Immigrants in Indianapolis

While the immigrant population in Indianapolis is small in proportion to other urban areas, it is the one of the fastest growing in the country. The majority of Indianapolis' foreign-born population entered the United States in the last decade. According to the 2000 United States census, the population in Indianapolis has grown by approximately 40,000 residents. Immigrants account for 44% of this population increase.

Nearly half of the newcomers to Indianapolis come from Latin American countries. Europe and Asia also are source regions. The top five countries of origin for Hoosier immigrants as of 2005 are Mexico, China, India, Germany and Korea. But newcomers arrive from every country you can imagine. Since 2000, Indianapolis has welcomed immigrants from Sierra Leone and Burma to Slovakia and Ireland, from Russia and Taiwan to Micronesia and Australia.

According to an Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) survey, employment is the number one concern for these newcomers, regardless of country of origin. Affordable housing, transportation and education are closely grouped as the next set of needs.



"I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible."  -- Mahatma Gandhi

"Heroes, all of them -- at least they're my heroes, especially the new immigrants, especially the refugees.  To give up your country is the hardest thing a person can do:  to leave the old familiar places and ship out over the edge of the world to America and to learn everything over again different than you learned as a child, learn the new language that you will never be so smart or funny in as in your true language.  It takes years to start to feel semi-normal.

And yet people still come . . . from Russia, Vietnam and Cambodia and Laos, Ethiopia, Iran, Haiti, Korea, Cuba, Chile, and they come on behalf of their children, and they come for freedom.  Not for our land (Russia is as beautiful), not for our culture (they have their own, thank you), not for our system of government (they don't even know about it, may not even agree with it), but for freedom.  They are heroes who make an adventure on our behalf, showing by their struggle how precious beyond words freedom is, and if we knew their stories, we could not keep back the tears."  -- Garrison Keillor