Immigrants and Refugees

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 Immigrant Cover imageAs of 2016, 16.5% of Chapel Hill residents were born outside of the U.S.  These immigrants and refugee residents make up nearly 10,000 of the roughly 59,000 Chapel Hill residents.

Community Connections aims to support the integration, wellbeing, and leadership development of Chapel Hill’s immigrant and refugee community members.  Our key initiatives in this area include the Building Integrated Communities Project, as well as a DACA renewal assistance programs.



Demographic snapshot of Chapel Hill immigrant and refugee residents

                  population icon          Country of Origin Icon          Income Icon          Education Icon          Communication Icon

    All information gathered is from the 2016 American Community Survey 5 Year Estimates.



Town Population Pie Chart


Country of Origin

 Country of Origin  Population  Percentage
 China  2330  24.0%
 India  854  8.8%
 Korea  805  8.3%
 Mexico  490  5.1%
 U.K.  432  4.5%

The top 5 countries of origin for Chapel Hill immigrant residents are listed in the table to the right.

Since 2005, 1,121 refugees have arrived in Orange County; most come primarily from Burma/Myanmar, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Laos, Russia, and Syria.



Residents born outside of the U.S. without U.S. citizenship have lower household incomes than residents with U.S. citizenship. Chapel Hill residents not born in the U.S or who are naturalized citizens have a higher median household income than residents born in the U.S. 

  Born in the U.S.   Not Born in the U.S

Not Born in the U.S., Naturalized Citizens

 Not Born in the U.S., Non-citizens

 Median household income (2016)  $65, 026 $71,198  $106, 250  $46,045 




Chapel Hill has a higher percentage (44% overall) of residents with a graduate or professional degree than the NC average (10.2% overall).  In fact, more foreign-born Chapel Hill residents have graduate or professional degrees than residents born in the U.S., reflecting the global recruiting practices of institutions of higher education and companies in the Triangle area.

Education Graph


 English Language Ability

About 24% of foreign-born residents live in households with limited English speaking ability. Of those with limited English-speaking ability, the breakdown of among populations is detailed below.

 Residents who speak...  Number who speak English "not well" or "not at all" Total number surveyed 
 Spanish 537 (43%)  1,248 
 Indo-European languages 115 (5%)  2,188 
 Asian and Pacific Island languages 705 (19%)  3,728 



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