Posted by Elena del Valle on February 3, 2010
By Josh Norek
Josh Norek, deputy director, Voto Latino
Photo: Josh Norek
My wife – a first generation Salvadoran-American attorney who grew up in some of the roughest areas of Los Angeles – once described part of my nearby hometown of Albany, NY as “the scariest place I’ve ever been.” When a girl from East LA thinks Albany is the most dangerous city in America, you know upstate New York has a problem.
Make no mistake: upstate New York is a microcosm of America’s Rust Belt and agricultural communities. As manufacturing and farming declined upstate, so did the area cities’ populations and their corresponding tax bases: in the Capital District region, Albany’s population dropped by 29%, Schenectady’s by 32% and Amsterdam’s by a staggering 43% between 1950 and 2000. Had Latino immigrants not moved to these small cities in the past two decades, the population losses would have been far higher.
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