Dayton ranks among fastest-growing cities for immigrants

Dayton’s immigrant population has seen some of the most significant growth in the nation in the last decade, according to Census survey data analyzed by this newspaper.

The number of Dayton residents who were born in other countries has roughly doubled to about 7,000 last year, compared to the mid-2000s, according to the data analysis.

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The growth has delighted city leaders, who have sought through new policies and programs to attract foreign-born people to try to counter population and job losses.

However, Dayton’s foreign-born population remains small, compared to most other large and mid-sized U.S. cities.

“Clearly, we are seeing the growth because we were at such a low number 10 years ago, but also, we’ve really championed this idea of inclusivity and diversity, which is really paying off,” Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said.

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More than 300 U.S. cities fall into the category of large and mid-sized — with populations of 100,000 people or more.

Only a handful of them have experienced faster growth in their foreign-born populations than Dayton. Dayton is home to about 140,000 residents.

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Immigrants accounted for just about 2.7 percent of Dayton residents about 10 years ago. Last year, they represented about 5 percent of the city’s overall population.

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