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Immigration to the Heartland: A Profile of Immigrants in the Kansas City Region
Fact Sheets
October 2016

Immigration to the Heartland: A Profile of Immigrants in the Kansas City Region

The foreign-born population in the Kansas City metropolitan area has grown rapidly over the past quarter-century: from 33,000 in 1990 to 135,000 in 2015. All told, the number of immigrants grew more than 300 percent during the period, at a time when the total population in the metropolitan area grew by 40 percent.

Though a large share of immigrants were born in Mexico or Central America, overall the region’s foreign born come from diverse ethnic backgrounds and possess various skill levels. Immigrants from several Asian countries outperform the U.S.-born population in terms of educational attainment, income, and earnings.

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, this fact sheet describes in detail the foreign-born population of the five main counties that comprise the Kansas City region: Johnson and Wyandotte in Kansas; and Jackson, Clay, and Platte in Missouri. The authors find that immigrants contribute significantly to the regional economy, working in a variety of industries and establishing strong roots in the community as long-term residents, homeowners, and parents of U.S.-citizen children.

Table of Contents 

I. Introduction

II. Location and Status of Immigrants in the Kansas City Region

III. Children of Immigrants

IV. Unauthorized Immigrants Eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program

V. An Overview of the Region’s Immigrants

A. Top Countries of Birth

B. Industries of Employment

C. English Proficiency and Educational Attainment

D. Rates of Low Income and Poverty

E. Homeownership Rates

IV. Conclusion