Monday, January 4, 2010

Immigrants transforming Malden anew

I almost hesitate to post this, because Malden is such a well-kept secret:

The Boston Globe says Malden, an unassuming community of 56,000 residents just minutes north of Boston, has quietly become a major destination for immigrants, second in the state only to Chelsea in its percentage of foreign-born residents.

The foreign-born population of Malden has doubled since 1990 to 37 percent, according to US Census Bureau estimates, mirroring a trend of immigrants moving to suburbs evident in communities such as Winchester, Lexington, Melrose, Revere, and others across the nation.

Immigrants have long flocked to this city on the banks of the Malden River, from the Irish and Italians who came to work in the factories at the turn of the 20th century to Jewish immigrants who fled Europe before and after World War II.

Now, immigrants from China, Haiti, India, Pakistan, and Morocco are transforming Malden anew, choosing it for many of the same reasons: affordable housing, decent schools, low crime, access to public transportation, and proximity to jobs in Boston. Chinatown is just eight subway stops away.

“It’s a little bit of history repeating itself,’’ said Mayor Richard Howard.