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Immigrant population in California declines

September 22, 2009 |  9:17 am

More than three decades of rapid growth in the country's foreign-born population came to a halt last year, census data show, as surging unemployment made the U.S. economy less attractive to outsiders, report The Times' Don Lee and Alana Semuels.

In California, which has a long history of attracting immigrants, the number of foreign-born residents actually declined, falling 1.6%.

"This is clearly a consequence of the economy, with the biggest impact on Mexican and low-skilled immigrants," said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who analyzed the census figures, which are to be officially released today. "It shows that these immigrants respond to the economy."

Nationwide, the number of foreign-born residents fell an estimated 99,000, or 0.3%, to 37.97 million.

Read more here.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

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