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Old 10-28-2014, 02:26 AM
 
Location: New Mexico via Ohio via Indiana
1,418 posts, read 1,179,648 times
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Always been fascinated in recent years by the growing community of Ethiopians and Eritreans and Somalians in and around Whitehall and far eastern Columbus.
How? Why Columbus of all places? Im guessing OSU but Im probably wrong.
For good Ethiopian spices for example, Columbus probably has the best selection for 1000 miles. And not Cleveland. Or even Chicago.
Why?
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Old 10-29-2014, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Springfield, Ohio
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Somalis have made the Twin Cities and Columbus their main homes in the U.S. Not sure if there's a historical draw or if it's been circumstantial, but it's mainly due to their ability to come over as refugees as opposed to regular immigration. Columbus has significant communities of people from all over Africa, just like any other American city with a good economy.
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Old 10-29-2014, 11:45 AM
 
Location: New Mexico via Ohio via Indiana
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The main unique thing about it is that their presence is known. Streets with shops, Haille Selaissie flags, restaurants, hair places. A specific neighborhood, not just a "community" This is not the case in many US cities with Horn of Africa immigrants. They might live there but there is no "Little Addis Ababa." But in and around Whitehall, it is exactly that.
Truly fascinating.
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Old 10-29-2014, 11:52 AM
 
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While a few Ethiopians attended OSU in the early 1900s, I really don't think that is the draw, as I imiagine almost no refugees go to school there.

Columbus is designated by the federal government as a refugee resettlement area. My guess is that it was designated as such because of the ready access to air and highway transportation, a good local economy, a variety of social service resources, and a modest cost of living. If anyone knows for sure, I would be interested in hearing why Columbus was chosen.
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Old 10-29-2014, 12:16 PM
 
Location: New Mexico via Ohio via Indiana
1,418 posts, read 1,179,648 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe from dayton View Post
Columbus is designated by the federal government as a refugee resettlement area. .
Bet that's it. Had NO idea.
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Old 10-29-2014, 02:49 PM
 
Location: Mexico City, formerly Columbus, Ohio
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I know a few refugees, from Asia mostly, and from what they told me, they were allowed to choose where they were resettled. The government did not force them to pick a specific location.

How so many Somalis ended up in Columbus originally, I have no idea. I can't imagine that the population just started randomly picking the city in large numbers, so there was something else. Whatever it was, now it's probably that there's already a large, established population, so it's a natural choice for many to come there.

That said, Somali immigration to Columbus has been dropping quite a bit in recent years. It has long been the #1 foreign immigrant group, but based on trends, India will overtake Somalia as the top origination country within the next few years.
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Old 10-29-2014, 05:34 PM
 
Location: MPLS
1,064 posts, read 1,030,835 times
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Largest Jamaican population too: enjoy the food for me...can't think of single Jamaican restaurant around these parts. There are a few Caribbean ones, but different islands. Why they chose Columbus, I'm not sure, maybe just lots of friends and family?
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Old 04-12-2015, 06:51 PM
 
Location: Columbus, Ohio
24 posts, read 42,379 times
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New Americans in Ohio | Immigration Policy Center

Columbus actually has a really diverse immigrant population. I work at a public library in Columbus which has a reputation as the "international" branch of the library system. We see customers from all over Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, etc) as well as places like Yemen, Nepal, and Bhutan. Many more places, but those are some of the places where I see many customers originating from.

It's actually one of the things I enjoy most about my job, and it has been super cool bonding with so many interesting cultures. I work with children and teens as well as adults. ESOL anything is big business around here. We have a lot of great organizations in Columbus that help the families- CRIS, CLC, etc. I think once a population gets going it's easier for new people to come where they have family, friends, or others who can speak the language and help them get established.
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