Comparative City Research


We have compiled a list of cities in line with the requirements described on the Methodology page of our website. The cities we have listed here are organized by model and include relevant statistical data as well as a brief description of the services and organization of the city’s approach to immigrant welcoming.

Table of Contents

  1. Nonprofit Partnership

  2. Liaison and Council

  3. City Office

  4. Municipal ID

  5. Non-Governmental Organization Controlled Immigrant Welcoming

Nonprofit Partnership

Fresno, CA

  • Population: 544,510
  • Immigrant Population: 19.92%
  • NAE Score: 3.33
  • Median Household Income: $61,276
  • Center:  The Fresno Center Immigration Services Program   
  • Summary:  Provides immigration assistance, especially in naturalization services free of charge. They show good results and provide a wide array of services for the Fresno community. They offer services in 4 languages: Khmer, Lao, Hmong, and Spanish.

Albany, NY

  • Population: 98,617
  • Immigrant Population:  15.5%
  • Median Household Income:  $52,583
  • Center: West Hill Refugee Welcome Center (RWC)
  • Summary: Refugee Center that focuses primarily on housing and creating a physical community neighborhood of refugees. It has evolved to have wraparound services and resources to support ever need or connect people to other orgs.

Toledo, OH

  • Population: 268,508
  • Immigrant Population: 3.5%
  • Median Household Income: $41,671
  • Initiative: Welcome Toledo Lucas County Initiative (TLC)3,400+ Toledo Ohio Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock | Toledo ohio skyline, Downtown toledo ohio, Toledo ohio bridge
  • Summary: Partnership between the Lucas County Board of Commissioners, Human Relations Commission of Toledo, and the nonprofit Toledo LISC. Housed in the Toledo Lucas County Public Library, the program works to provide unmet immigrant needs in the area, better welcome immigrants, and celebrate their diversity. Toledo and Lucas County are the first city and county to both reach Certified Welcoming by Welcoming America.

Immigrant Affairs Liaison and Council

Erie, PA

  • Population: 93,999
  • Immigrant Population: 7% 
  • Median Household Income: $40,201
  • Office: New American Liaison and Council
  • Summary: There is liaison that coordinates with the different immigrant groups stakeholders and city officials in Erie. The council includes all of these groups as well as representative of immigrant leaders such as small business owners and cultural and religious representatives sit on the council which has about 40 or so active members. The council meets monthly to discuss immigrant needs and issues facing the community. The advantage to this model is the low cost it would take to implement and then relationship and trust building that is necessary between the city and the stakeholders. This model would be a first step to help create these connections before creating a city sponsored immigrant welcoming center.


City Office

Orlando, FL

  • Population: 302,968
  • Immigrant Population: 22.9%
  • NAE Score: 3.00
  • Median Household Income: $88,128
  • Office: Hispanic Office for Local Assistance (HOLA)
  • Summary: The Hispanic Office for Local Assistance is an office located within city hall in downtown Orlando. It is part of the Office of Multicultural Affairs within the city’s executive offices. This model is effective because there are devoted city officials working with the city’s resources to connect immigrants to the services they need. The office builds long-standing connections with Orlando residents, who come to them repeatedly for help.  Services offered include: legal assistance related to naturalization and citizenship processes, job referrals, school registration information, driver license and identification card information, health care and medical insurance information, government programs information, assistance with Food Stamps and Medicaid application. Also, workshops/training: emergency management for businesses and residents, arts and culture, applying for the Mayor’s Matching Grant Program, bereavement, crime prevention, emergency training, financial tools. 

Richmond, VA

  • Population: 226,604
  • Immigrant Population: 7.5%
  • NAE Score: 3.38
  • Median Household Income: $54,795
  • Office: Office of Immigrant and Refugee Engagement
  • Summary: The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Engagement (OIRE) is a physical city governmental office that has two primary functions. 1. As an internal provider of interpretive services for other departments within the Richmond city government. 2. As a provider of services and programs for immigrants that fill unmet needs within the Richmond community. Many of these services and programs are in collaboration with other immigrant serving organizations in the greater Richmond area. The advantages of this model are greater and more accessible interpretive services across city government, more collaboration with immigrants directly, more collaboration with community stakeholders, and sustained funding.

Jersey City, NJ

  • Population: 292,449
  • Immigrant Population: 41.6%
  • NAE Score: 4.25
  • Median Household Income: $81,390 
  • Office:  Division of Immigrant Affairs
  • Summary: The Jersey City Division of Immigrant Affairs at the Department of Health & Human Services (DIA-HHS) is committed to improving the inclusion, integration, and total health and wellness of Jersey  City’s immigrants. The multi-lingual staff present at their Jackson Square office can help immigrants complete some immigration forms and find the non-profit experts one needs to achieve success in different areas. All services are free to Jersey City residents, regardless of their current immigration status in the United States. They provide basic services similar to the one’s our community organizations in Hartford provide including legal assistance, ESL classes, job agencies and health and wellness facilities.

Philadelphia, PA

  • Population: 1.5 million
  • Immigrant Population: 14.3 %
  • NAE Score: 3.92
  • Median Household Income:  $52, 649
  • Office: Office of Immigrant Affairs 
  • Summary: The city has a staff of six and supporting interns that help generate policy and coordinate efforts for immigrant welcoming in Philadelphia. The city has a 311 number residents can call, not exclusively for immigrants, however, there are accessible language and translations available for residents that do not speak English. A person on the staff is focused on language accessibility which is a large initiative within the Office of Immigrant Affairs in Philadelphia. The website also has compiled a list of resources for immigrants, and the other part of their job is to generate policies that would advance immigrant interests.

Municipal ID

New Haven, CT

  • Population:  135,081
  • Immigrant Population: 12%
  • Median Household Income: $61,114
  • Program Name: The Elm City ID Card Program Info
  • Summary: The ID Program distributes cards that claim individuals are residents of New Haven regardless of their national citizenship status. Since 2007, more than 10,000 cards have been distributed. The model of institutionalizing immigrant friend policies in City Hall is cost effective and aids the efforts of our community organizations that have a long history of working with immigrants. It allows residents to have a sense of belonging and gain easy access to health and education services without the fear of being persecuted.

Newark, NJ

  • Population: 307,220
  • Immigrant Population: 34.0%
  • NAE Score: 3.67
  • Median Household Income: $41,335
  • Program Name: Newark Municipal ID Program 
  • Description: Municipal ID program in which a resident of Newark can apply for a NMID card regardless of citizenship or immigration status which would function as proof of identity and residency, allow access to governmental and non-governmental programs and services that require a form of identification, etc. Website does not state if it allows cardholders to vote in local elections.

NGO Controlled Immigrant Welcoming

 Trenton, NJ

  • Population: 90, 457
  • Immigrant Population: 23.3%
  • Median Household Income: $83,306
  • Leading Organization: Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey
  • Summary: From disaster relief and emergency assistance to affordable housing and senior living options, Lutheran Social Ministries of NJ offers programs and services that address the acute and long-term needs of children, adults, families, and seniors throughout New Jersey, including: Community Outreach, Senior Healthcare & Retirement Living, Affordable Housing, Community Residential Services, Hospice/Home Care. This model is a non-profit partisanship that has a culturally-based support approach.

Waukegan, IL

  • Population: 89,751
  • Immigrant Population: 30.17%
  • Median Household Income: $58,844
  • Leading Organization: Catholic Charities
  • Summary: There is no city sponsored immigrant welcoming center in Waukegan, however Catholic  Charities is a leading organization in the area. Catholic Charities helps with unemployment, poor health, learning English, boosting children’s literacy, and managing limited finances; Spanish & English.

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