Ohio draws high percentage of educated immigrants

CLEVELAND (AP) - Recent immigrants to Ohio are more likely to have a college degree than foreigners arriving elsewhere in the United States, according to a demographer.
Although Ohio attracts fewer immigrants than most places, the immigrants who do come to the state belong to an elite class.
"It's a small number, but the number is more selective," said William Frey, a University of Michigan demographer who spotted the trend.
About half of the foreign-born adults who arrived in Ohio between 1995 and 2000 graduated from a university, and more than two-thirds had at least some college education, according to an analysis of U.S. Census information.
"These people often get in based on their education, because they have no family here," said Margaret Wong, an immigrant from Hong Kong who founded a Cleveland law firm specializing in immigration issues.
Wong said many Asian Indians and Russians who are new to Cleveland received visas because of their technical savvy or doctoral degrees. She said many are drawn to the region's colleges.
Still others were forced to flee civil wars and revolutions and join the refugee stream.
"When there's turmoil in a country, the intelligentsia are the first to be targeted because they're considered a threat to the new regime," said Algis Ruksenas, director of the International Services Center of Cleveland.
He said the Cleveland area resettled about 6,000 refugees during the past 10 years. Many of them are professionals from fractured societies in Africa and the former Yugoslavia.
Ohio and other Midwest states also are likely to attract immigrants from Europe and Asia, while the rest of the nation draws heavily from the developing nations of Latin America, Frey said.
Ohio may attract educated immigrants, but it has trouble keeping them, a report released Friday by the Census Bureau shows.
The report tracked the movement of the foreign-born population across the nation from 1995 to 2000.
The Census Bureau found that California, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Texas and Illinois took most of the nation's immigrants from 1995 to 2000. But much of the foreign-born population then fanned out in a "secondary migration."
Immigrants tended to move to the same places as everyone else. They poured into Arizona, Nevada, North Carolina and Florida. But they also streamed into Iowa and Tennessee and added new cultures and languages to Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin.
Ohio had a net loss of foreign-born residents, meaning the state lost more foreigners than it welcomed in the late 1990s.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)