Migration: Present


Migration: Present


The 2010 census numbers show that diversity has increased in Vermont. Although it still ranks as one of the most homogenous states, according to the Burlington Free Press (February 11, 2011), the percentage of the Green Mountain state’s population that is non-Hispanic white dropped from about 96 percent in 2000 to 94 percent last year, while those who identify themselves as black or African-American doubled. A significant part of this change can be attributed to the arrived of more than 1000 refugees from Africa to Vermont over the last decade.

Since the Refugee Act of 1980 created the first general United States refugee admission policy, the inaugural groups of Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotian refugees came to Vermont in the early 1980s and a steady flow from around the world has arrived each year since, over 2000 each decade.

According to statistics from the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, the 1990s brought over 1,200 refugees from Bosnia (also Kosovo) and 783 from Southeast Asia. Then, in the first decade of the 21st century, the largest numbers came from Africa (909 from Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Somalia and Sudan) and the Balkan region (487) with continued arrivals from Southeast Asia (474). Over the last two decades, about 200 refugees have also arrived from the former Soviet Union. In addition, although not technically refugees, over 100 Tibetans have come to Vermont since 1993.

The majority of refugees are settled in Chittenden County to benefit from broader employment opportunities and support services, although some have been placed in Middlebury and the Barre-Montpelier area. Non-refugee groups of new Americans from other parts of the world include a number of people from India, many of whom come to work for IBM or to study or work at the University of Vermont, who have also largely settled in Chittenden County.

The impact of these new cultures arriving over the last 30 years has started to have an effect on the Vermont food scene, particularly in more urban areas, through the establishment of restaurants, specialty food shops and farmers market stands. Their longer term impact on Vermont foodways remains to be seen but they have introduced new flavors, techniques and ingredients to our food scene.

Collection Items

While not technically refugees, Tibetans are effectively refugees and this family is among the 100 or so Tibetans who have come to Vermont since GWBush sr made a deal with the Dalai Lama to allow in a certain number. They make traditional momo…

Refugees and other immigrants have set up food markets to make available some of their native foods.

Immigrants to Vermont from Iran/Persia share tradition of No Ruz, spring celebration, with Sabzi Polow Bamahi (rice with fish) and other dishes.

Vermonters of Mexican heritage share food and other traditions of Day of the Dead.

African-American Vermonters cook soul food version of Thanksgiving.

Somali Bantu refugees share their cooking traditions, which reflect the history of their country with influences from Britain, Italy and India.

UVM students and other Vermonters of Indian heritage share food and other traditions of Diwali.

Asian New Year as celebrated by various Asian communities - Vietnamese, Chinese - in Vermont.

Family from Cameroon shares food traditions from their native land.

Trubek shares the story of her home orchard in Cornwall, which has some plum trees similar to the varieties familiar to Bosnian immigrants to Vermont.
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