ALBANY (The Journal News) -- New York is home to the second largest number of immigrants in the country, according to a report Wednesday.
Well above the national average of 13 percent, roughly 22 percent, or 4.4 million, of New York’s population is comprised of foreign-born individuals, according to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s report, “A Portrait of Immigrants in New York.”
The numbers rank New York behind California, which had almost 10.3 million immigrants in 2014.
The highest proportion of immigrants in comparison to the total population New York is in New York City, the Hudson Valley and Long Island, the state report, which is based on state and federal data, said.
“While the vast majority live in New York City, many are reshaping our suburban and upstate communities and helping revive our main streets,” DiNapoli said in a statement.
In New York City, about 35 percent of the population are immigrants. It was nearly 20 percent on Long Island and the Hudson Valley, the report said.
Conversely, the proportion in the Finger Lakes was about 6 percent and at 5 percent in central New York, the Mohawk Valley, and the Southern Tier.
In the report, it is estimated that two-thirds of immigrants in New York are long-established U.S. residents, having entered the country before 2000.
During the following decade, between 2010 and 2015, 75 percent of the 631,000 individuals immigrating to New York settled in New York City, while 73,000 or 11.6 percent chose to live upstate; mainly in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse.
When including the American-born children of immigrants in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and Schenectady, immigrants make up over 10 percent of each city’s population, the report said.
DiNapoli, a Democrat, pointed out the report comes amid a national debate among the presidential candidates and Congress over the nation's immigration policies.
"Across our nation, debate over immigration has been recurring and often intense," DiNapoli said in the report.
"Here in New York, immigrants stimulate economic activity in communities within every region, as well as advancing their social and cultural vitality."
The Southern Tier has the highest proportion of younger immigrants, with nearly 30 percent under the age of 25, the report said.
More than half of the Southern Tier’s immigrant population is from Asia, with a third from China, Japan and Korea.
The report used the federal definition of immigrants: those categorized as naturalized, citizens, lawful permanent residents, non-immigrants, and unauthorized immigrants.
A naturalized citizen meets the requirements for citizenship, while lawful permanent residents are those who have been granted permanent residence in the country.
Among upstate cities, Utica has the highest proportion of immigrants, at slightly over 18 percent of its total population.
The report noted that without the influx of immigrants, parts of upstate would see population declines.
In fact, while the population in Buffalo-Niagara Falls; Syracuse; Dutchess and Putnam counties; Utica; Binghamton and Kingston fell from 2010 to 2015, the decline would have been even sharper without new immigrants.
Also, the Albany area, Rochester, Ithaca, New York City and Long Island had population increases during that stretch only because of immigrants, the report said.
New York also ranked third as the destination for refugees admitted to the U.S., behind Texas and California.