Christina Getrich has lived in Maryland for most of her life and has witnessed the state’s changing demographics over time.
A large number of Salvadoran immigrants began settling in Montgomery County when she was younger, said Getrich, who lives in Silver Spring. Today, while Salvadorans are still the largest foreign-born population in the county, groups from countries such as India and Ethiopia also have sizable populations.
“We all get so much from the presence of those people,” said Getrich, a professor and anthropologist at the University of Maryland whose interests include immigration and citizenship. “Here, we just have such a range of different people from different places. We’re lucky in the D.C. area.”
America’s melting pot culture has seen an estimated 59 million immigrants over the past 50 years, according to the Pew Research Center, but this uptick in diversity took hundreds of years to take shape.
“There’s no doubt that immigrants have made America what it is today,” said Elizabeth Keyes, an assistant law professor and director of the Immigrants Rights Clinic at the University of Baltimore.
In 2013, 13% of the U.S. population — or more than 40 million people living in the U.S. — were foreign-born, according to data from the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. And by 2055, no race or ethnicity will hold a majority, the data said.
Maryland Reporter: “New Faces Part 1: Maryland’s changing faces often are from other countries”