New Study Ranks Chicago, Illinois as Number One City for Immigrants in the United States

Chicago is Number One City for Immigrants in the U.S.

Written by: Taher Kameli, Esq.

While the Trump administration has consistently adopted anti-immigration policies, the various states and cities in the United States vary greatly in their views and attitudes toward immigrants.  As a result, it is an important decision for immigrants in determining where to live in the United States and trying to reside in a favorable location for immigrants. To help immigrants in making this decision, a new study has ranked Chicago, Illinois as the number one city for immigrants in the United States.

The study, released on November 13, was prepared by “New American Economy”, which describes itself as “a bipartisan research and advocacy organization founded to educate, empower and support policymakers, influencers, and citizens across the country that see the economic and social benefits of a smart approach to immigration reform”. 

“New American Economy” issued a press release concerning the study, stating, “Today, New American Economy released the 2019 Cities Index, a national ranking of the top 100 cities on how effectively they are integrating immigrants. This year, Chicago, IL ranks No. 1, followed by Chula Vista, CA, Jersey City, NJ, and San Francisco, CA. The 2019 Index also shows that Midwestern cities are making the biggest strides – with Cleveland, OH, Milwaukee, WI, and Toledo, OH among the top ten cities whose scores improved the most since last year’s Cities Index was released. 

The NAE Cities Index is the first and only comprehensive, national assessment of how well the 100 largest cities are integrating immigrants. It measures integration by studying local immigration policies as well as the socioeconomic outcomes of the local immigrant population to see how they compare to their U.S.-born neighbors.

Policy factors include, but are not limited to, language access policies and support for immigrant entrepreneurs, and socioeconomic outcomes include employment and homeownership rates, among others. A total of 51 factors determine how well cities are creating environments that help immigrants and communities overall succeed. . . . Other key takeaways from this year’s Index include: . . . Cities with high index scores are communities where all residents, regardless of where they are born, do well. . . . Cities have adopted a wide range of policies that welcome and support immigrants.  36 of the 100 cities in the Index now have an office for immigrant affairs, including Chicago’s Office of New Americans. . . . Large, traditional immigration gateways are still leading other cities on immigration policies.  Chicago, IL, San Francisco, CA, Los Angeles, CA, and New York, NY got the highest policy scores as a result of their strong support for immigrants. . . . Smaller, more affordable cities top the socioeconomic category in the Index.  Jacksonville, FL, Norfolk, VA, and St. Petersburg, FL, shared first place for the top socioeconomic outcome score”.

Kate Brick, Director of State and Local Initiatives, New American Economy, stated, “The Cities Index is a powerful tool that gives cities new insights into how they can more effectively address the needs of immigrants and build a stronger economic backbone for their whole community. . . . This year’s results were exciting – Midwestern cities are becoming leaders in adopting a welcoming approach to immigration and they are reaping countless benefits from this strategy”.

After, as described above, Chicago, Chula Vista, Jersey City, and San Francisco, the next twenty top cities in the study (in priority of ranking) were “Baltimore, MD  New York, NY Anaheim, CA/Newark, NJ/San Jose, CA (tied) Los Angeles, CA/Portland, OR (tied) Philadelphia, PA Washington, D.C. Cleveland, OH Cincinnati, OH/Greensboro, NC/San Diego, CA (tied)  Seattle, WA Detroit, MI Fremont, CA/Riverside, CA/Sacramento, CA (tied) Irvine, CA Albuquerque, NM/Milwaukee, WI/Oakland, CA (tied)”.

More information on the study can be found at

In response to the results of the study, Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot stated, “We are tremendously proud Chicago has been named the most welcoming city in America for immigrants and refugees. . . . This ranking reflects the passionate and dedicated work of countless public officials and community members across our city who have come together to stand up and fight for the rights of our immigrant and refugee communities, no matter the cost. 

We are a nation of nations, and will continue to build on our heritage that encourages, respects, and supports our residents as they strive to create a future for their families and fulfill their own American dream”.        

While the location of residency is a key issue for immigrants, another important matter is the quality of the attorney who represents the immigrant.  To be successful in protecting one’s immigrant rights, the immigrant needs to retain the services of a skilled immigration lawyer, such as Kameli Law, which has had years of experience and success in representing immigration clients.  TheKameli Law is based in Chicago, Illinois – as described above, ranked by “New American Economy” as the number one city for immigrants in the United States. If you need support with any immigration matter, please contact Kameli Law, at or 312-233-1000, for help.

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