The nation added about a half-million immigrants in 2007, down from about 1.8 million the year before, according to estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Analyzing the newest census data, USA Today reports that immigrants are migrating in a pattern similar to those of the U.S.-born population, increasingly leaving congested, expensive coastal cities for smaller, middle-class metro areas in the South and Southwest. According to USA Today analysis:

North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas are among the states gaining the most natives and immigrants from other states. Both groups also are moving in substantial numbers to Sun Belt counties in smaller metropolitan areas: Mecklenburg (Charlotte); Tarrant (Fort Worth); Richland (Columbia, S.C.); Cobb and Gwinnett (Atlanta).

The top five states with the highest resident increases, according to USA Today:

  • The largest U.S.-born increase in residents: North Carolina: 108,000; Texas: 92,000; South Carolina: 66,000; Arizona: 66,000; Georgia: 63,000.
  • The largest immigrant increase in residents: Texas: 39,000; Georgia: 12,000; North Carolina: 11,000; Nevada: 11,000; Washington: 10,000.