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Immigrants make up 21 percent of Staten Island residents

Since 2000, Staten Island has seen a steadily rising degree of diversity among its inhabitants. At a recent lecture at Wagner College, Dr. Joseph Salvo, director of the Department of Planning's Population Division, spoke about the Island's quickly growing immigrant population.

Consider that in 1970 Staten Island's foreign-born population totaled at 26,700. By 2000, there were 72,700 Islanders who were born outside of the U.S. But now, of the 470,000 people currently living on the Island, about 100,500 -- roughly 20 percent -- are immigrants.

Throughout New York City, the number of Chinese immigrants has greatly increased since the turn of the century, and the same can be said of Staten Island. Of all of the Asian-born Island residents, Chinese people make up 78 percent.

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of Hispanic immigrants has also greatly increased, showing a 52 percent rise in that time. In 2010, according to the U.S. Census, there were also 40 percent more Asian non-Hispanics and 12 percent more black non-Hispanics living on the Island than there were in 2000.

Among Hispanics, Mexicans made up the largest percentage increase, at 154 percent, while Central Americans, Dominicans and Puerto Ricans also made major population jumps.

The reasons for the influx are clear: people move to Staten Island because it's less dense than other parts of the city, and there's the possibility of owning property.

If Staten Island families are working toward visas, permanent residency status or citizenship, then they need to be aware of their legal options. The family immigration process can be long and complicated, but there are ways of ensuring that your application moves through the system as quickly as possible.

Source: silive.com, "Staten Island increasingly a borough of immigrants," Ryan Lavis, April 24, 2013

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