Getting to know our newest neighbors: Thoughts on immigration trends
Andi Egbert, Minnesota Compass
We talked with Andi Egbert about working on the new immigration section on Compass. Get Andi's take on why it was exciting to expand the immigration data, what surprised her, and what Compass has that you can't find anywhere else. We hope you will use Andi's suggestions as an impetus to delve deeper into this rich topic.
My husband and I lived in our home for nearly a year before we met the elderly couple whose house was within whistling distance from ours. Because we never rang the doorbell, and they never emerged outside, we could only speculate: Who were they, what were their challenges, what were they like?
There is uneasy sense that comes from not knowing your neighbors – a gnawing feeling of your shortcoming of civic and personal duty.
That’s why I’m so excited about the launch of the Immigration section on Minnesota Compass. Figuratively, it opens new doors on the lives of neighbors many of us know little about. Assembling this section taught me perhaps more than any other topic we’ve prepared for Compass:
In addition, we created profiles with some of the most requested data for seven of the largest immigrant groups in Minnesota (excluding Canadians), including Ethiopian, Hmong, Indian, Liberian, Mexican, Somali, and Vietnamese. While titled Groups At a Glance, I have a feeling many Minnesotans are going to spend more time than that with these tables, because we are proud to say they contain data about Minnesota’s foreign born residents that is available nowhere else. Beyond these larger groups, you can also see the incredible range of people that immigration’s tide has transported to Minnesota, from countries such as Bosnia and Belarus to Cameroon and Costa Rica.
Research validates that strong social ties can create positive health, social and even economic outcomes for communities. These ties begin with a hello, and they are strengthened through increasing levels of awareness, understanding, and in the best scenarios, a sense of common purpose that crosses boundaries of age, culture and ethnicity. For me, that phenomenon began when I finally met my neighbors Bob and Lucy, and we swapped ideas about how best to vanquish our dandelions.
We hope this Immigration section (including its Ideas At Work) helps you learn more about your neighbors and continue the important work of building the social ties in communities across our diverse state. At a minimum, we hope you’ll have the courage to “ring the doorbell.”