Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Immigrant Populations: Seattle versus the Eastside

Great article in Crosscut about what is happening over on the Eastside with immigrant populations. 

What draws immigrants to the Eastside and keeps them there, even when, like Tushara, they go to work in Seattle? Lee could be speaking for all of them when he answers, emphatically, with a single word: “School! I needed to raise kids, and Bellevue’s the place to do it.”

It wasn’t just the Bellevue schools’ celebrated instructional quality (its average test scores place it among the top 10 districts statewide in math and science and the top 30 in reading and writing) or their ample tax base, which includes the wealthy lakeshore municipalities of Medina, Clyde Hill and the Points.

It was the counter-intuitively congenial social environment of what was then an upscale, predominately white, monocultural community. In Bellevue and Newport, Pham found, he didn’t have to worry about his three kids being bullied or sticking with their own kind for protection. The friction, suspicion and resentment that can arise when struggling minorities jostle against each were absent. “There’s more tension poor to poor,” he explains. “Eastside people are very friendly and generous.”

“We find common denominators instead of looking for differences,” says Lee. “It’s not like Los Angeles, where you’re all competing. If everyone’s fighting for the same dollar, it’s difficult. But wealth takes the pressure off. Instead of fighting, we continue to look to our success, so we can attract more opportunity, more business growth.”

Stats from the story:

By 2010, 22 percent of the Eastside’s population was foreign-born, a figure that has surely grown since. More than 30 percent of Bellevue and Redmond’s populations were immigrants, up from just 13 percent in 1990 — a larger share than Seattle’s 17 percent, and more than in any other King County municipality save Tukwila and Seatac.

Many immigrants to those two cities (and to Kent, the largest in South King County) come from different countries than those on the Eastside, and under very different circumstances. Relatively inexpensive housing has made them prime resettlement sites for refugees from such countries as Myanmar, Somalia, Bhutan and Burundi, who, in past decades, would have settled in South Seattle. 

By contrast, nearly two-thirds of Bellevue’s immigrants are from Asia; about a third of those came from China, a quarter from India and 12 percent from Korea. They tend to land with a leg up on the mobility ladder, bringing more education and, in many cases, capital to start businesses. 

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here's a look at Seattle from KPLU titled: Why is Seattle is such a white city? (The article and comments look beyond color, but the title grabs you).

http://www.kpluwonders.org/content/why-seattle-such-white-city

and reactions to this story:

http://www.kpluwonders.org/content/reaction-why-seattle-such-white-city

Having worked with refugee resettlement programs, many newcomers head to S. King County. It's just more affordable than Seattle. Once refugees learn a bit of the language, know the geography, make local connections, and find better paying jobs (the KEY), they will move on to better neighborhoods.

Spent some time in Redmond, and boy, its middle class enclave is a world apart in terms of the many nationalities represented. Also worth mentioning, Eastside has a sizable E. European community.

rover

mirmac1 said...

Can't we talk LEV and Alliance into immigrating to Bellevue?

Anonymous said...

Anyone else having issues with seeing the blog posts? All I see is a District Calendar directly under the headliines for many posts.

QAE Parent

Maureen said...

QAW Parent, I'm not having any trouble. I'm using Chrome and Windows.

Anonymous said...

I can't see the language immersion post and comments. Does anyone know why? I can read all the others, just not that one.

CCA