A screenshot of the Georgia chart. Click here for the interactive version with all 50 states. 

Atlanta’s quest to position itself as the cosmopolitan capital of the region seems to have gotten a shot in the arm from graphs showing that Georgia has the highest proportion of residents born outside the country among states in the Deep South.

While the data isn’t new, the interactive graphs composed by The New York Times’s TheUpshot blog provide a state-by-state visualization of “Where we came from,” looking all the way back to 1900. 

In 2012, U.S. Census Bureau data show that 11 percent of Georgians were born outside the United States, which was equal to the sum of the 1 percent from Alabama, 2 percent from South Carolina and 8 percent from other states in the South, excluding Florida. 

The charts also show that after years hovering around 1 percent, the state’s foreign-born population first really increased in 1980 to 2 percent, then doubled each decade through 2000 before settling at 11 percent in 2012. 

By this metric, Georgia is more multicultural than North Carolina (9 percent), South Carolina (6 percent), Tennessee (5 percent), Alabama (4 percent) and Mississippi (2 percent). Florida is an outlier at 21 percent.

Aiming to position Atlanta as a welcoming city, Mayor Kasim Reed has repeatedly said in recent months that the state capital has the second fastest-growing foreign-born population in the nation. 

In August, the mayor sought to highlight its hospitality by saying that the city would do everything in its power to welcome unaccompanied minors currently being settled by U.S. immigration authorities. (The mayor also held a press conference July 29 that seemed targeted at setting himself up in contrast to Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, who had sent a letter to President Barack Obama complaining that states should’ve been informed of their impending arrival.)

“I’m going to send a message in no uncertain terms that these children need a safe place, and a safe haven. The city of Atlanta is going to be that,” Mr. Reed was quoted as saying at the time. 

Also interesting to note on the domestic front: 55 percent of Georgians were born within the state, and now sees more in-migration from New York than neighboring Alabama

See the state-by-state list of charts here

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...