Friday, October 23

Fertile Valley

By Sharon Simonson

Known first as the world’s information technology and innovation hub, Silicon Valley and its people are much more. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly four in 10 valley residents were born in another country, and the citizenry is among the nation’s most racially, culturally and ethnically diverse.

From 1990 to 2010, more than 20 million people from other countries settled in the United States—more even than the crush of European immigrants who came in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, 40 million American residents were born elsewhere, the highest absolute count in the nation’s history and the highest proportion—one in eight—since 1920.

Silicon Valley’s population has been among those most changed.

Since 1990, the number of foreign-born residents has nearly doubled. In many Santa Clara County census tracts, more than half of the population is foreign-born. Besides sizable Hispanic and non-Hispanic white populations, the Chinese, Vietnamese, Asian Indian and Filipino populations each approach or exceed 100,000 people. The largest population of Afghans in the country resides in Fremont.

SV1World seeks to document and understand our region’s popular diversity and to probe the local qualities that have made Silicon Valley so attractive to the ambitious and creative the world over.

Photo courtesy of Mineta San Jose International Airport

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