Immigrant Neighborhoods Fare Better in Slump

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Sure, some of the tonier New York City neighborhoods have seen their shining buildings tarnish in the recession, but not all areas are in decline. Immigrants -- and their environs -- are faring relatively well even amid the financial fallout.

Foreign-born workers accounted for $215 billion in economic activity in 2008, almost a third of the city's economic output, according to a report released this week by the New York State Comptroller's Office. What's more, as Crain's New York pointed out, "the 10 neighborhoods with the greatest concentration of immigrants had stronger economic growth than the rest of the city between 2000 and 2007."

The majority of those neighborhoods -- including Flushing, Washington Heights, Coney Island, Elmhurst and Corona -- are in more affordable Brooklyn and Queens. (Maybe Manhattan will catch on one of these days...)


.The number of businesses in these immigrant-heavy neighborhoods grew by nearly 15 percent -- four times the rate in the rest of the city -- and their workforces and payroll swelled even further. All this is to say that many of the neighborhoods we declared doomed when the housing bubble burst may be tougher and more resilient than we thought.

The findings also turn the notion of the ghetto on its head. Rather than immigrants funneling into slums, they are moving to New York City and improving their lot, both literally and figuratively.
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