30 Years: Region still lacking an international vibe

Part of the 30 Years, 30 Changes series on the Pittsburgh region

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Pittsburgh remains the least international of large metro areas in the United States but immigration in the past 30 years shows the largest influx of Latinos and Asians in the city's history.

The most dramatic change has been in the past decade, when most foreign-born immigrants have come from Asia and India, said Chris Briem, regional economist for the University Center for Social and Urban Research at the University of Pittsburgh.

"In the '90s we might have doubled our immigrant flow, and we're still last among large metro regions," he said.

That may begin to change as Pittsburgh's population of young adults grows.

"The city of Pittsburgh is getting younger pretty quickly," he said. "Immigration follows job growth, and the fact we have seen relatively better job growth, we should see more" immigration, he said.

The city has registered several upticks since 1983 -- its worst year ever for outmigration.

The Latin American Cultural Union began in 1986 with about 20 members. "By the end of this year we have a goal of 500 members," said Jesabel Rivera, its president.

Between 1990 and 1995, more than 1,000 Russian Jews were resettled in Pittsburgh after Russia opened its doors for emigration. In the past few years, more than 3,000 Bhutanese refugees have been resettled by Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh, mostly in Carrick, Brentwood and Baldwin Township.

The city's immediate southern suburbs, notably Scott and Green Tree, have been popular among Asian and Indian immigrants. Aside from a small enclave in Beechview, the choice communities of Latinos are scattered.

Because of the presence of its universities and institutions, Oakland sees the greatest diversity of internationals, Mr. Briem said.


Diana Nelson Jones: djones@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1626. Read her blog City Walkabout at www.post-gazette.com/citywalk. First Published October 6, 2013 4:00 AM


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