The rise and fall of foreign-born resident population in Cincinnati

At the dawn of the 20th century, Cincinnati was the nation's ninth-largest city, and had built its economic and population base on residents from other countries.

The 1890 census data show that nearly one of every four people who lived in the Queen City (24.1 percent of about 297,000 residents) was foreign-born.

But in the last 120 years, the data reveal a different story.

Overall population has come full circle, peaking at more than a half-million in the 1960 census before dropping to an estimated 297,300 in 2012.

The percent of foreign-born residents, however, plunged to a low of 2.7 percent by 1970. They now represent about five percent of the overall population.

The small, but steady increase in immigrant residents since 2000 might be an incentive for a local task force that's working to attract more immigrants.

Cincinnati and other major Midwest cities believe larger immigrant populations can only help boost business as they begin to rebound from the most recent recession.

The chart below, compiled from historic census data, shows how immigrant population dipped as Cincinnati's population took a roller-coaster ride through the last century. In 1870, the number of foreign-born residents was 79,612. By 2000, it had dipped to 12,461 and in 2012, it had risen to 14,870. 


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