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NEWS from the Office of the New York State Comptroller
Contact: Press Office 518-474-4015


DiNapoli: New York State is Home to 4.4 Million Immigrants, Second Only to California

November 2, 2016

Immigrants in New York state comprise 22 percent, or 4.4 million, of the state’s population, which is well above the national average of 13 percent, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Immigrants have helped stabilize populations in some upstate cities and driven growth in other areas such as New York City and Long Island.

“Immigrants are nearly a quarter of our population. While the vast majority live in New York City, many are reshaping our suburban and upstate communities and helping revive our main streets,” New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said. “Our report found that most immigrants in New York are well-educated and actively participate in the workforce. Their rich diversity of cultures and experiences help make our state strong.”

As of 2014, the number of immigrants in New York was surpassed only by California at nearly 10.3 million. Most are long-established residents of the United States; two-thirds entered the country before 2000. New York also ranks third as a harbor for refugees admitted to the United States, behind Texas and California.

More than 92 percent of all New York’s immigrants reside in New York City, Long Island and the Hudson Valley, according to the report. For those immigrating to New York state from 2010 to 2015, nearly 75 percent of the 631,000 immigrants settled in New York City. Another 73,000 made their homes in upstate cities, primarily Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse.

The report found that the highest concentration of immigrants within New York state is in New York City, at 37 percent. Among upstate cities, Utica has the highest proportion of immigrants, at slightly over 18 percent of its total population. When you include the American-born children of immigrants, their share of Utica’s population rises to approximately 24 percent. For Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and Schenectady, the figure is over 10 percent.

“Utica has a rich history, going back decades, as a melting pot; welcoming immigrants from all over the world,” Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri said.  “As Mayor, I take great pride in Utica’s track record in how we treat and assimilate immigrants as they have made tremendous contributions to our economy and community.”

Almost three-quarters of the foreign-born in New York over the age of 25 have a high school education or higher, with nearly 48 percent having completed some college. The Southern Tier has the highest proportion of its immigrant population, aged 25 and older, with a bachelor’s degree or higher, followed by the Capital Region.

The state’s highest proportion of immigrants – nearly half – come from Latin America. Other notable proportions by region are: 

  • In the Mohawk Valley, Europeans make up the largest share of immigrants, at 40 percent, with nearly two-thirds of them from Eastern Europe, predominantly Bosnia and Herzegovina;
  • In the Southern Tier, Asian immigrants account for more than half the foreign-born, with nearly a third from China, Japan and Korea, as well as Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam; and
  • The North Country boasts the highest proportion of Canadians – more than 20 percent of its foreign-born population – as well as the state’s highest concentration of Australian or South Pacific immigrants.

“The Mohawk Valley has been home for Latinos since the 1800s, with Utica’s Latino population increasing to 10.5 percent by 2010,” said Sonia Martinez, president of the Mohawk Valley Latino Association, Inc. “Families who visit fall in love with the quality of life and education system, which are important for Latinos to leave a big city like New York City. We are a welcoming city and love our diverse families and friends.”

“Utica has been welcoming refugees through the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees for 35 years, 16,000 refugees to date,” said Shelly Callahan, Executive Director of the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees. “These refugees have provided a needed work force, opened businesses, bought and renovated houses, and are an essential part of the economic revitalization currently happening in Utica. Utica remains a beacon of tolerance, diversity, and good will.”

“The Latino American immigrant community is the fastest growing segment of Oneida County’s otherwise declining population,” said Tony Colon, chairman of the Utica Mayor's Access and Inclusion Committee. “I commend State Comptroller DiNapoli for recognizing the contributions we provide in the Mohawk Valley. Our growing presence behooves us to be a part of the solution to the challenges we face when more than 10 percent of the county speaks a language other than English.”

Read the report, or go to:

For access to state and local government spending and more than 50,000 state contracts, visit The easy-to-use website was created by DiNapoli to promote openness in government and provide taxpayers with better access to the financial workings of government.